Oral cancer is the most common cancer among men in India, and it is mainly caused by the use of smokeless tobacco, according to Dr. Abhishek Shankar, Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, AIIMS Patna.
Dr Shankar told IANS that in India, of the total tobacco consumption, cigarettes contribute 5%, while bidis contribute 10% and smokeless tobacco contributes up to 85%.
“Our efforts are directed more towards cigarettes and still miss attention on the remaining 95% which are still unorganized and affect human health to the maximum,” he said, adding that quitting smoking is an important tool in preventing a large number of cases of oral cancer in India and can also help in improving the survival of cancer patients.
Data from the World Health Organization indicates that tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of these deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while approximately 1.2 million are the result of exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke.
Tobacco products cause serious diseases like cancer, claiming nearly 13 lakh lives in the country. For a healthy India, it is essential that tobacco control laws and policies are strengthened and effectively implemented, said Dr. Uma Kumar, HOD of Rheumatology, AIIMS Delhi.
Renowned epidemiologist Chandrakant Lahariya pointed out that children and non-smokers also visit the outlet and are at risk of becoming addicted.
“Every life is precious and we lose 1.3 million Indians every year to tobacco-related diseases. Apart from cancer, tobacco is also a major cause of a wide range of chronic and life-threatening illnesses like lung disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke, to name a few,” he said during a broadcast on World No Tobacco Day.
“People who use tobacco in more than one form – cigarettes or bidis, chew gutkha or khaini, areca nut (betel quid) or drink alcohol – are more likely to get cancers like these- ci.These malignant tumors can affect any area of the mouth, including the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth and roof of the mouth.If detected early, cancers of the mouth and of the mouth can be treated effectively,” said Delhi-based oncologist Dr. Arun Kumar Giri.
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