an alarming rise in the incidence of the disease, Indian Dental
Association (IDA) reveals that oral cancer kills one person every 6
hours in the country.
According to IDA secretary general, Ashok
Dhoble, the situation could even be graver as many cases of the
disease go unreported.
"Cases of the disease and death resulting
from the oral cancer in rural areas and among the poorer section of
society are hardly recorded," Dr Dhoble said.
He noted that owning
to the high prevalence of smokers and the extensive use of other
chewable tobacco products, India has seen a sharp growth in the
number of oral cancer patients in the past decade.
According to him,
oral cancer accounts for about 40 percent of all cancer-related
disease in the country, with the north-eastern states worst affected.
"States like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu
are also affected," he said.
He added that every third person in
these states uses tobacco products. Talking about measures to control
the prevalence of the disease, he said that nothing short of a
complete ban on the use of tobacco would work.
Pointing out that it
is the nicotine in the tobacco which makes it addictive and difficult
to kick the bad habit, Dr Dhoble said, "our government also
understands the problem well. But the huge number of people working
with the tobacco industry is the dilemma. The government has to
provide them with an alternative source of revenue and then ban
He noted that a dentist would be the first
person to diagnose oral cancer since it is not limited to teeth; it
can affect the mouth, tongue, pharynx and gums too. Once it enters
into the second stage, the life span of the patient reduces to just
"I advise people to consult a dentist and not to ignore
even if there is a slight issue in the mouth. But above all they have
to quit using tobacco in every form. That's the natural medicine,"