Randomised trial of the psychological effect of information about oral cancer in primary care settings

Gerald Michael Humphris, RS Ireland, EA Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To determine the immediate influence of a validated patient information leaflet (PIL) on patient anxiety and intention to have a screen for oral cancer in primary care attenders. Participants: Patients (n = 800) attending their primary health care provider. Setting: Fourteen general practices (eight dental and six medical) in the northwest of England. Design: Randomised controlled trial with two arms: leaflets provided in information group, leaflet was absent in control group. Measures: Single item ratings of (1) intention to have an oral cancer screen, and (2) anxiety towards a screen, (3) perceived risk of oral cancer. Knowledge of oral cancer, self-reported dental service attendance history and demographic variables were also collected. Results: Patients who had read the oral cancer PIL demonstrated an increase in their intention to have a screen (Mann Whitney U test: z = -3.67, P < 0.001) and reduced anxiety (Mann Whitney U test: z = -2.07, P < 0.05). Subjective risk was not elevated by the extra information. Intention to have a screen was predicted by knowledge level and anxiety (odds ratios: 1.10 and 0.70 respectively, both P's < 0.001). Conclusion: The influence of an information leaflet appeared to have a positive effect on anxiety level and intentions to agree to receive an oral cancer screen. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-552
Number of pages5
JournalOral Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001


  • patient information leaflets
  • oral cancer
  • screening
  • anxiety
  • primary health care


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