Oral cancer is a growing problem worldwide, with high incidence rates in South Asian countries. With increasing numbers of South Asian immigrants in developed countries, a possible rise in oral cancer cases is expected given the high prevalence in their source countries and the continued oral cancer risk behaviours of immigrants. The aim of this review is to synthesise existing evidence regarding knowledge, attitudes and practices of South Asian immigrants in developed countries regarding oral cancer.
Five electronic databases were systematically searched to identify original, English language articles focussing on oral cancer risk knowledge, attitudes and practices of South Asian immigrants in developed countries. All studies that met the following inclusion criteria were included: conducted among South Asian immigrants in developed countries; explored at least one study outcome (knowledge or attitudes or practices); used either qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. No restrictions were placed on the publication date, quality and setting of the study.
A total of 16 studies involving 4772 participants were reviewed. These studies were mainly conducted in the USA, UK, Italy and New Zealand between 1994 and 2018. Findings were categorised into themes of oral cancer knowledge, attitudes and practices. General lack of oral cancer risk knowledge (43–76%) among participants was reported. More than 50% people were found engaging in one or more oral cancer risk practices like smoking, betel quid/pan/gutka chewing. Some of the participants perceived betel quid/pan/gutka chewing habit good for their health (12–43.6%).
This review has shown that oral cancer risk practices are prevalent among South Asian immigrants who possess limited knowledge and unfavourable attitude in this area. Culturally appropriate targeted interventions and strategies are needed to raise oral cancer awareness among South Asian communities in developed countries.