Head and neck cancer awareness: A survey of young people in international communities

Kehinde Kazeem Kanmodi, Nneamaka Nnebedum, Mayowa Bello, Miracle Adesina, Omotayo Francis Fagbule, Olumide Adesoye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Head and neck cancer (HNC) is killing young people yearly. The knowledge of HNC risk factors and its symptoms among this population group may go a long way in HNC prevention among them. This study aims to: determine the level of awareness of HNC; determine the prevalence of HNC risk factors; and explore the knowledge of HNC risk factors, HNC symptoms, as well as family history of HNC among youth in the international communities (with focus on the Canadian and Nigerian youth). A sample of 801 youth were surveyed using an e-questionnaire. The questionnaire obtained information from each participant about their: socio-demographic information; knowledge of HNC, its risk factors, and its manifestations; and family history of HNC. Data obtained from the participants were analyzed using the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS Version 9.4 for Windows). The majority (73%) of the surveyed youth (n=801) were residing in Nigeria, seven-tenths of them were between the age 18 and 24 years, and 53% were females. Less than 10% had a history of smoking, 7% were active smokers, and 24% had history of oral sex (of which 57% (108/109) of them had a lifetime history of more than one oral sexual partner). Around half (51%) of the participants had never heard of HNC before. Only 4% knew of a family member who had suffered/is suffering from HNC. Half of the participants were not sure whether HNC can manifest without initial complaint, pain, or symptoms. Only 9% of the participants erroneously believed that HNC is a contagious disease. Comparative analyses among subgroups revealed that a higher proportion of those participants who were: from Canada; young adults; and males generally knew about HNC when compared with the proportions recorded among those in the adolescents; females, and Nigerian participants' categories. Lastly, 76% of the participants showed interest in knowing more about HNC. The majority of the surveyed youth demonstrated poor knowledge of HNC. Also, a significant proportion of them are at risk of developing HNC disease in future, if they keep indulging in HNC risky behaviors. There exists the need to conduct community health education programs on HNC among youth in these surveyed communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20180231
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partly funded by the Cephas Health Research Initiative Inc., Nigeria. The authors have no competing interest to declare. We thank all those who participated in the survey. We also use this medium to sincerely and deeply appreciate our colleagues from the Infinitas Research Group, London, Canada (Ronald Chow, Drew Hollenberg, and Jaclyn Viewheger), for helping us in the circulation of this e-questionnaire in Canada and USA, and for their technical assistance. We also appreciate their generous support in the preparation of this manuscript. Lastly, we give thanks to Almighty God for making this study a huge success.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


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