Oral cancer in India mainly caused by tobacco: Experts

Most common cancer among male in India is oral cancer which is mainly caused by the use of smokeless form of tobacco, said Dr Abhishek Shankar, Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, AIIMS Patna.

Dr Shankar told IANS that In India, out of total tobacco use, cigarettes contribute 5 per cent whereas 10 per cent by bidi and up to 85 per cent is by smokeless tobacco.

“Our efforts are more directed towards cigarettes and still lacking attention over other 95 per cent which are still unorganised and affecting maximum to human health,” he said adding that tobacco cessation is an important tool to prevent large number of oral cancer cases in India and can also help to improve the survival in patients with cancer.

The World Health Organisation data says that tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco products cause serious ailments like cancer, claiming almost 13 lakh lives in the country. For healthy India, it is critical that tobacco control law and policies are made stronger and implemented effectively, said Dr Uma Kumar, HOD of Rheumatology, AIIMS Delhi.

Noted epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya pointed out that children and non-tobacco users too visit the Point Of Sale and are at risk of getting addicted.

“Every life is precious and we are losing 1.3 million Indians every year to tobacco-related diseases. Apart from cancer, tobacco is also a major cause of a wide range of chronic and life-threatening conditions like lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and strokes to name a few,” he said at a programme on World No Tobacco Day.

“People who consume tobacco in several form — smoking cigarettes or bidis, chewing gutka or khaini, areca nut (betel quid), or drinking alcohol — are more likely to acquire cancers like these. These malignancies can affect any area of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, mouth floor, and mouth roof. If detected early, oral and mouth cancers can be efficiently treated,” said Delhi based oncologist Dr Arun Kumar Giri.




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