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A cross-sectional survey of awareness of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancers among general practitioners in the UK

Lechner, Matt, Vassie, Claire, Kavasogullari, Cemal, Jones, Oliver, Howard, James, Masterson, Liam, Fenton, Tim R., Yarbrough, Wendell, Waller, Jo, Gilson, Richard and others. (2018) A cross-sectional survey of awareness of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancers among general practitioners in the UK. BMJ Open, 8 (7). ISSN 2044-6055. E-ISSN 2044-6055. (doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023339) (KAR id:68524)

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Objectives: To examine the level of awareness of the link between human papillomavirus (HPV) and oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) and epidemiological trends in HPV-related OPC among general practitioners (GPs) in the UK.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Participants: 384 GPs from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Setting: The survey was administered at GP training courses and via email to lists of training course attendees.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Proportion of respondents aware of the link between HPV and OPC; respondents’ self-rated knowledge of OPC; proportion of participants aware of the epidemiological trends in HPV-associated OPC.

Results: 384 questionnaires were completed with an overall response rate of 72.9%. 74.0% of participants recognised HPV as a risk factor for OPC, which was lower than knowledge about the role of smoking, chewing tobacco and alcohol consumption (all >90%?recognition). Overall, 19.4% rated their knowledge of OPC as very good or good, 62.7% as average and 17.7% as poor or very poor. The majority (71.9%) were aware that rates of HPV-associated OPC have increased over the last two decades. Fewer than half (41.5%) of the participants correctly identified being male as a risk factor of HPV-associated OPC, while 58.8% were aware that patients with HPV-associated OPC tend to be younger than those with non-HPV-associated disease.

Conclusions: The association of HPV infection with OPC is a relatively recent discovery. Although the level of awareness of HPV and OPC among GPs was high, the characteristics of HPV-associated OPC were less well recognised, indicating the need for further education.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023339
Uncontrolled keywords: General Practice, Primary Health Care, HPV, Human papillomavirus, HPV Vaccines, Oropharyngeal Neoplasms
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Biosciences
Depositing User: Tim Fenton
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2018 08:02 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 07:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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