Some dis­turb­ing facts

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

Oral cancer is pre­ventable but the tragedy is that thou­sands suc­cumb to it each year, re­it­er­ates Dr. D.K. Dias, urg­ing that more aware­ness pro­grammes are needed to arm the peo­ple with in­for­ma­tion.

It has been rated as the sixth com­mon­est cancer in the world, af­fect­ing more peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing rather than de­vel­oped coun­tries.

The com­mon­est cul­prits caus­ing oral cancer are to­bacco (smok­ing or chew­ing), areca-nut, heavy al­co­hol con­sump­tion and be­tel, the Sun­day Times learns.

He gives some shock­ing data for peo­ple to chew on:

Those who smoke and drink have 15 times greater risk, than those who do not, of be­ing af­fected by oral cancer. Those who smoke heav­ily and drink heav­ily are 100 times more at risk than oth­ers of be­ing struck down by oral cancer. Heavy drinkers (tak­ing greater than 100gms of al­co­hol per day) are 30 times more at risk than oth­ers of get­ting oral cancer. Heavy smok­ers are 15 times more at risk than oth­ers of be­ing hit by oral cancer. Warn­ing chil­dren and youth against fol­low­ing the so-called fash­ion­able trend or be­com­ing vic­tims of a copy­cat syn­drome, Dr. Dias is wav­ing a brightred flag against such sub­stances as babul.

The symp­toms of oral cancer in­clude pre-ma­lig­nant white patches or le­sions and un­heal­ing pain­less ul­cers in the mouth. These wounds would be red­dish but be­cause they do not hurt there is late pre­sen­ta­tion to doc­tors, says Dr. Dias, adding that most of those hit by oral cancer are in the age-group 55-60 years.

More warn­ings of dis­turb­ing trends come from Dr. Dias:

Re­cent find­ings are show­ing an in­creas­ing trend of oral cancer in women, which may be due to in­creased pat­terns of smok­ing and heavy drink­ing. Younger peo­ple, those around 30 years, are also be­ing af­fected by oral cancer. With 1 in 10 peo­ple be­ing at risk of de­vel­op­ing cancer in their life­time, 1 in 64 would be vul­ner­a­ble to oral cancer. Ac­cord­ing to him the ae­ti­ol­ogy of oral cancer dif­fers in de­vel­op­ing and de­vel­oped coun­tries. Due to be­tel-chew­ing with to­bacco, areca-nut and lime, the de­vel­op­ing world is see­ing more cheek can­cers. With heavy smok­ing and heavy al­co­hol in­take, the de­vel­oped world is wit­ness­ing more can­cers in the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Mean­while, the hu­man pa­pil­loma virus (HPV) and can­dida su­per-in­fec­tion could also be con­trib­u­tory fac­tors for the devel­op­ment of oral car­ci­noma.

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