Table of Contents
Journal of Oral Oncology
Volume 2013, Article ID 263150, 7 pages
Research Article

Awareness of Oral Cancer in a Northwestern Nigerian State: Assessing the Knowledge, Opinion, and Practice of Traditional Healers and Herbalists

1Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano 23400, Nigeria
2Preventive Dentistry Department, Bayero University, Kano 23400, Nigeria
3Oral Diagnostic Sciences Department, Faculty of Dentistry, Bayero University, Kano 23400, Nigeria
4Community Health Department, Bayero University, Kano 23400, Nigeria

Received 17 September 2013; Revised 29 November 2013; Accepted 1 December 2013

Academic Editor: Shun-Fa Yang

Copyright © 2013 Rafael A. Adebola et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: Traditional healers/herbalists remain one of the most accessible and popular options of care to people suffering from cancers particularly at the community level in Nigeria. The majority of patients with oral cancer present at the terminal stage after exploring unorthodox care. This study assesses the awareness of oral cancer among traditional caregivers in Kano State, Northwestern (NW) Nigeria. Methods: Self-administered, structured questionnaires were administered to a cross section of 21 traditional caregivers. Results: Of the 21 traditional caregivers studied, the majority (66.7%) had never heard of oral cancer and only 7 (33.3%) were aware. The level of knowledge on oral cancer was assessed using a scoring system classifying respondents as having adequate (>50%) or inadequate (<50%) knowledge. There was a significant educational status gap as respondents with informal education had lesser knowledge than that of their counterparts who had formal education (61.9% versus 19.0%) (P = 0.012). Conclusions: It is important to have allied healthcare providers informed about oral cancer, as their knowledge and awareness of oral cancer and its risk factors, which were low in our study, are vital in prevention and early detection. Impact: This study provides an insight into oral cancer prevention using traditional herbalists who are popular caregivers for those seeking health-related solutions.