India has highest oral cancer cases tobacco guilty areca nut too

India has the dubious distinction of having the worlds largest number of oral cancer patients with an annual agestandardised incidence of 125 per 100000 says Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi Associate Professor Department of Head and Neck Oncology Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai

Oral cancer accounts for 94 per cent of all cancers in India oral cancer is not a common disease in the west and continues to be the major cause of cancerrelated death in Indian men Apart from tobacco a lesser known reason for the epidemic proportion of oral cancer in India is also rampant use of areca nut chewing he points out

Control over areca nut or betel nut is mandatory if India wants to reduce its cancer burden especially oral cavity cancer Chaturvedi says in the recent issue of the International Journal of Head and Neck Surgery Like tobacco areca nut or betel nut a psychostimulant and an addictive substance is a carcinogen

The cancer causing properties of areca nut have been reported in various studies The WHO and International Agency for Research on cancer classified areca nut as Group 1 human carcinogens with evidence of increased risk of precancerous oral lesions

One out of two cigarettesmokers is killed directly due to smoking habits says Dr Kalyan Gangwal consulting physician and founder of Sarva Jeev Mangal Pratishthan that has been at the forefront of an antitobacco campaign

Nicotine is addictive and there are innumerable cases of youngsters seeking treatment for locked jaw caused due to oral submucous fibrosis

Gangwal says while cigarette companies are aware of the toxic nature and health consequences of tobacco products promotion strategies are used with impunity by several multinational firms that control the cigarette industry We need to make tobacco products less desirable and socially unacceptable Gangwal said ahead of World No Tobacco Day May 31

Date : 30 May, 2012
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