Introduction: Oral cancer (OC) is a disease with poor prognosis, but this can be improved with early detection. OC occurrence is closely related to various risk behaviors, especially consumption of tobacco, betel quid, alcohol, or illicit drugs; individuals with those habits should be aware of OC risk. Objectives: This study assessed the awareness of OC among recovering drug addicts through analyses of their understanding of OC risk factors and early signs, as well as the need for early diagnostic screening. Material and methods: This cross-sectional study included 163 consecutive patients (145 men, 18 women; aged 18 to 49 years) enrolled in the National Narcotics Board Drug Rehabilitation Program in the Republic of Indonesia during January and February 2018. A self-administered questionnaire was designed to collect data regarding sociodemographic characteristics, OC-related behaviors, risk factors, early signs, screening, and dental visits. Results: Of 163 subjects, 125 (76.7%) were aware of OC, and 54 (43.2%) knew that illicit drug consumption was a risk factor; 68 (54.4%) subjects did not recognize early signs of OC, and 104 (83.2%) subjects had never undergone OC screening. After illicit drug consumption, the prevalence of tobacco consumption was highest (140, 85.9%), followed by alcohol (35, 21.5%), and betel quid (4, 2.5%). Among subjects who had visited dental clinics, 24 (14.7%) learned about OC from their dentists. Conclusions: OC awareness remains low among recovering drug addicts, potentially due to a lack of information. Dental practitioners play major roles in the detection, education, and intervention needed to reduce the incidence of OC.
- Drug addicts
- Oral cancer