Oral cancer is a silent epidemic in the Indian subcontinent where it ranks among the top two types of cancer in the country, especially in males. This can be attributed to the very high prevalence of disease-specific risk factors like tobacco/betel nut chewing and alcohol abuse. It is usually diagnosed at later stages which result in low treatment outcomes and considerable costs to the patients who usually cannot afford this type of treatment. Early detection would improve the cure rate and would also lower the cost and morbidity associated with treatment of advanced oral cancers.
Oral cancer screening and awareness in high-risk populations such as those found in India will help in early detection. Clinical diagnosis is by examination of the oral cavity which is accessible easily. Treatment in the form of surgery and radiotherapy aims to cure disease, prolong survival and improve the quality of life.
Dr. Arsheed H. Hakeem, MBBS, M S (ENT)
Head & Neck Oncologist,
Apollo Health City, Hyderabad