OBJECTIVES: We examined the knowledge and prevalence of mouth and throat cancer examinations in a sample drawn from rural populations in north Florida.
METHODS: Telephone interviews were conducted across rural census tracts throughout north Florida in 2009 and 2010, in a survey that had been adapted for cultural appropriateness using cognitive interviews. The sample consisted of 2526 respondents (1132 men and 1394 women; 1797 Whites and 729 African Americans).
RESULTS: Awareness of mouth and throat cancer examination (46%) and lifetime receipt (46%) were higher than reported in statewide studies performed over the past 15 years. Only 19% of the respondents were aware of their examination, whereas an additional 27% reported having the examination when a description was provided, suggesting a lack of communication between many caregivers and rural patients. Surprisingly, anticipated racial/ethnic differences were diminished when adjustments were made for health literacy and several measures of socioeconomic status.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the notion that health disparities are multifactorial and include characteristics such as low health literacy, lack of access to care, and poor communication between patient and provider.