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Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 2:28 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 2:28 AM (IST)WORLD ORAL CANCER DAY

Oral cancer on rise, tobacco to blame

PGI receives 5 to 7 cases every week; experts say early detection the key
Oral cancer on rise, tobacco to blame

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5

The number of oral cancer cases is on the rise. On an average, one case is reported at the PGI daily.

On the eve of World Oral Cancer Day, which falls on Thursday, doctors at the PGI said five to seven such cases came to light at the institute every week. A large number of cases were also reported at the institute from adjoining states.

Dr Ashima Goyal, Professor, Oral Health Sciences Centre, PGI, attributed the rise in the number of oral cancer cases to tobacco addiction and promotion of tobacco products and paan masala in advertisements and films. These were sold in fancy packs and the ban on the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions was not being implemented effectively, she said.

“A majority of the oral cancers are detected only after these have reached an advanced stage. By this stage, the cancers are ‘spoiled and hurting’, the treatment is broad and expensive with very low survival rates. But, mercifully, a majority of these cancers are marked by pre-cancerous lesions, which can be detected for up to 15 years prior to their change to invasiveness. Early detection and prevention of oral cancers is important,” Dr Vidya Rattan, also from the Oral Health Sciences Centre, told Chandigarh Tribune.

Doctors said ulcers lasting for over two weeks, burning sensation in the mouth and bleeding could be among the symptoms of oral cancer.   

Schoolchildren getting addicted to tobacco

In a PGI study, 5.1 per cent schoolchildren were found to have used tobacco, while 2.2 per cent were current tobacco users in some or the other form in Panchkula and Ambala. In a pilot study conducted at a Khuda Lahora village school in the UT, it was found that a large number of students were carrying tobacco products in their bags.

“Studies revealed that schoolchildren started using tobacco due to peer pressure. Secondly, when kids see their parents or grandparents using tobacco at home, they also get this habit. Parents should keep an eye on their kids and teachers should conduct surprise checks to ensure that they do not bring tobacco products to the school,” said Dr Goyal.“The age of initiation into tobacco in rural areas is decreasing with children falling prey to this silent killer at an early age. It is imperative to implement and reinforce tobacco-related policies and provide a suitable environment in the school to children to curb the tobacco menace,” noted a PGI study published in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, Education and Research.

Drivers, conductors to be screened today

The vulnerable section of drivers and conductors will be screened for pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions in the Transport Area in Sector 26 on Thursday on World Oral Cancer Day, said Dr Arpit Gupta. The event will be organised by the Indian Dental Association, Chandiarh branch, along with the PGI. “They will be apprised of the harmful effects of tobacco consumption. We will also guide them against notions related to it,” he said.

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