Background: Although Knowledge of the side effects of cancer treatments is crucial for everyone, it is more vital for patients' companions. Since they can significantly improve patients' attitudes towards cancer treatments and help them tolerate the disease; Objectives: In this study, we aimed to examine the level of knowledge and attitudes of companions about dental considerations and oral complications related to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was provided to companions at Kowsar Hospital in Semnan University, Iran, in October 2021. A total of 176 companions were selected by simple sampling method. Inclusion criterion consisted of the companions who were most of the time alongside the patients. The researcher-designed questionnaire included three sections: demographic variables, knowledge of and attitude toward dental considerations, and oral complications related to chemotherapy and radiotherapy (15 and 4 items, respectively). The relationship between knowledge and attitude with variables (e.g., gender, education level, duration of the treatment, and the location of the cancer) was investigated.
Results: Overall, 176 companions participated in this research. A total of 152 (86.4%) individuals had low to moderate knowledge (score 7-14), and only 6 (3.4%) companions had high knowledge (score 15-19). Around 74 (42%) individuals had moderate attitude scores, and 98 (55.7%) had high attitude scores. Companions’ knowledge scores increased significantly with higher education and having head and neck cancer patients. Moreover, companions’ attitude scores decreased significantly with the age and duration of patients’ treatments and increased significantly with higher education and having gastrointestinal cancer patients.
Conclusion: The level of knowledge and attitude of companions was low to moderate about chemotherapy- and radiotherapy-induced oral complications and dental considerations. Therefore, improving the comprehensive education of this group is required.
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