Tobacco Habit and Oral Cancer in India


Is Head and Neck Cancer a matter of big concern in India? The answer is yes, as Oral and Lip cancer are the most common cancers in men in India in 2018 and also, India identifies the highest numbers of new Oral Cancer cases in the world every year.

The most common cause that triggers Oral Cancer is tobacco chewing, the habit of which is deeply ingrained in the Indian population specially the younger population. Thus, awareness about tobacco and its effects should be incorporated into educational programmes to have some effect. I must mention here that all forms of tobacco are equally dangerous. Secondly, poor oral hygiene is another known cause of Oral Cancer and it can be as an aftereffect of continuous smoking or lack of conscious efforts to maintain hygiene of the oral cavity by imbibing basic mouthwash habits. Unfortunately for us, the importance of grains is only realized during the famine.

Coming to the treatment of Oral Cancer, the basis of treatment is formed by Surgery, Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy. However, recent advances in Surgical treatment (eg. Robotic Surgeries and Reconstruction Surgeries) and in Radiation techniques have led to fantastic outcomes with respect to cosmetics and cure. Organ preservation and reconstruction of facial features have helped improve the function as well as the cosmesis. Secondly, even in advanced cases, we have multiple newer therapies like Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy to offer which leads to good outcomes and better quality of life.

Overall Head and Neck Cancers are a group of tough cancers to deal with for the doctors as well as the patients, so awareness regarding the risk factors and prevention should be the utmost priority. However, recent advances in the treatment.

Dr. Udip Maheshwari

MBBS, MD (Medicine), DNB (Medical Oncology)

Medical Oncologist & Hemato-Oncologist

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