Oral cancer is a silent crisis in India. Thirty per cent of all cancers are oral cancer, and approximately 17% of all cancers in men and 10.5% of all cancers in women are oral cancer. Approximately 70,000 new cases are reported annually and 46,000 oral cancer-related deaths occur each year in India; furthermore, the number of cases is rapidly increasing. With this crescendo there may be an estimated 100,000 new cases by 2020, which is insurmountable, especially in emerging economies like India. This astronomical increase is a direct result of tobacco usage. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey performed in 2010 (GATS-2010) reported that approximately 274.5 million people in India use tobacco in various forms. Increasing use of smokeless tobacco, especially by women and children, is of major concern. The World Health Organisation has identified tobacco control and oral cancer control measures as a health priority. However, prevention of tobacco use in India is a great challenge owing to low overall literacy rates and to greater prevalence among people in lower socio-economic strata. Addressing this problem requires a multidisciplinary approach. This paper presents a situational analysis of oral cancer in India and the role of tobacco in making it the epicentre of the disease, and focuses on the role of dental care-givers in influencing and promoting tobacco-control programmes and early detection of oral cancer.
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© 2014 FDI World Dental Federation.
- Smokeless tobacco
- dental professionals
- early diagnosis
- tobacco cessation