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Discussing HPV with oropharyngeal cancer patients: A cross-sectional survey of attitudes in health professionals

Dodd, RH; Forster, AS; Waller, J; Marlow, LAV; (2017) Discussing HPV with oropharyngeal cancer patients: A cross-sectional survey of attitudes in health professionals. Oral Oncology , 68 pp. 67-73. 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2017.03.014. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is now known to cause a significant proportion of head and neck cancers (HNC). Qualitative research has shown that some health professionals find it difficult to discuss HPV with patients due to its sexually transmitted nature, and have concerns about their own knowledge of the virus. We used a survey to quantify attitudes towards discussing HPV among HNC health professionals. METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional survey of HNC health professionals (n = 260) in the UK and Ireland, assessing participants’ knowledge of HPV, their experiences of and attitudes towards discussing HPV with patients, and their willingness to discuss HPV with their patients in the future. RESULTS: Overall, health professionals had good knowledge of HPV (mean score: 9.97 out of 12). Oncologists had significantly greater knowledge than specialist nurses, speech and language therapists and ‘other’ health professionals. Most were willing to discuss HPV with patients (mean = 4.3 out of 5). Willingness to discuss HPV in the future was associated with higher HPV knowledge (r = 0.35, p < 0.001), fewer negative and more positive attitudes towards discussing HPV (r = −0.23 and r = 0.20 respectively, both p < 0.001), fewer personal barriers (r = −0.49, p < 0.001) and greater confidence (r = 0.58, p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Knowledge, experiences and attitudes to discussing HPV varied across HNC health professionals. Addressing gaps in health professionals’ HPV knowledge and improving their confidence in discussing HPV with patients may increase their willingness to have such conversations. This may help minimise the negative psychosocial consequences of an HPV diagnosis in this patient group.

Type: Article
Title: Discussing HPV with oropharyngeal cancer patients: A cross-sectional survey of attitudes in health professionals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2017.03.014
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2017.03.014
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Oncology, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine, Head and neck cancer, Human papillomavirus, Attitudes, Health professionals, Knowledge, HUMAN-PAPILLOMAVIRUS, ORAL-CANCER, UNITED-STATES, KNOWLEDGE, DENTISTS, UK, INFECTION, BEHAVIORS, VACCINES
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1552297
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