e-mail Print Share

Campaign increases screenings for some rural Floridians

May 29, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Gainesville, Fla.
— A media campaign in Florida focused on the importance of oral and pharyngeal examinations resulted in an increased number of black men, the campaign’s target, receiving mouth and throat cancer exams for the first time, according to a University of Florida analysis published in May in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers say they hope the report will provide the groundwork for future interventions aimed at reducing inequities in receipt of cancer examinations.

For five months in 2010, the research targeted African-American men in some of north Florida’s poorest, rural counties. Researchers designated, tested and implemented a culturally tailored media campaign featuring black actors, including posters, handheld fan designs, a car magnet and a trifold brochure. The posters and brochures were displayed in 45 local businesses that serve black clients, and 45 vehicles displayed the car magnet.

“Black men are more likely to be diagnosed at the later stages of mouth and throat cancer, when it is most devastating and costly,” said Yi Guo, Ph.D., an author of the study and an assistant professor in the College of Medicine department of health outcomes and policy. “We aimed to reverse this health inequity by ensuring more black men are aware of the dangers of mouth and throat cancer, because this cancer is preventable. People need to get screened.”

After conducting the campaign, researchers assessed mechanisms of behavior change among individuals receiving an OPC examination for the first time. They used data from two waves of telephone surveys of individuals in 36 rural census tracts in northern Florida, with the second survey occurring after the media intervention.

Among men who had not had a prior OPC exam, 11.2 percent had an examination after the media campaign. By contrast, researchers previous baseline work showed that, in the absence of an intervention, 7 percent of black men had undergone an exam in the past year.

Other authors of the analysis, “Determinants of First-Time Cancer Examinations in a Rural Community: A Mechanism for Behavior Change” are Henrietta L. Logan, Ph.D.; Amber S. Emanuel, Ph.D.; James A Shepperd, Ph.D.; Virginia J. Dodd, Ph.D.; John G. Marks, D.H.Sc.; Keith E. Muller, Ph.D.; and Joseph L. Riley, III, Ph.D..

The ADA encourages its members to promote early oral cancer detection through periodic extraoral and intraoral examinations and, with constituent societies, it promotes prevention and early detection of oral cancer through public education activities. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs encourages clinicians to provide adult patients with thorough hard-tissue and soft-tissue exams, including lymph node examination, following completion of the patient’s health history and risk assessment.