Oral Cancer - Indias Most Common But Curable Disease
Cancer Care Surgical Oncology

Oral Cancer - Indias Most Common But Curable Disease

Over 5 people in India die every hour, every day due to oral cancer

 An estimated 657,000 new cases of Oral Cancer are detected each year and causes more than 330,000 deaths worldwide. In India, the incidence of oral cancer is still the highest in the world due to the wide availability of tobacco products and lack of awareness in society. It has been predicted that India's incidence of cancer will increase to more than 1.7 million in 2035, escalating the death rate to 1-2 million.

Early Detection Can Save Lives!

If oral cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is usually very effective. Oral cancer can be diagnosed earlier by self-mouth examination and increased awareness among high-risk communities.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Cancer is defined as the uncontrollable division of cells that invade and damage surrounding tissue. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat), can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.

Signs & Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks, seek immediate medical advice:

  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Lump or sore area in the mouth, throat or on the lips
  • White or red patch in the mouth
  • Difficulty moving the tongue or jaw
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Sore or ulcer that does not heal or bleeds
  • Tenderness, pain, or lumps anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Recent change in voice

Causes And Risk Factors

 Specific factors which can increase the risk of oral cancer are:

  • Tobacco and Alcohol: Any form of tobacco has carcinogenic substances that enter the mouth, and increases the risk for oral cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption is also one of the major risk factors. Consumption of both at a time can increase the risk further.
  • Age: The risk of oral cancer increases with age, with an average age of diagnosis being 62 years.
  • Human PapillomaVirus (HPV): It is a sexually transmitted infection that has strong associations with several forms of oral cancer.
  • Prolong & Extreme Sun Exposure: The sun emits rays that can burn the lips and trigger the development of oral cancers.
  • Gender: Males are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women.

Prevention (Better Than Cure)

Some lifestyle factors that can reduce the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Avoiding tobacco & alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthful diet
  • Maintaining oral hygiene
  • Using sunscreen cream or a lip balm on the lips when exposed to the sun
  • Exercising regularly
  • Having frequent dental check-ups

How Early Detection Can Save Lives?

Oral cancer is a growing problem globally which is why early detection is crucial for treatment.
Recognizing possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action leads to early diagnosis, which greatly increases the chances for successful treatment.

It is generally acknowledged that both prevention and screening of oral cancer are important, and the early diagnosis of oral cancer may result in less aggressive treatment, which in turn not only improves the quality-of-life but also the overall survival rate of the patient.

Treatment for oral cancer usually involves using a combination of therapies, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy together, which are much more effective in the early stages. If cancer has spread to other areas, it becomes difficult to isolate and treat.

However, Advanced and precision-based techniques, have added a new dimension to cancer treatment. Methods like advanced chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these aims to slow down the growth or spread of cancer. 

With Timely Diagnosis and the Right Treatment, We can and We will - Defeat Cancer 



Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar | Medical Oncology,Cancer Care,Haematology & BMT,Paediatric Oncology | Sarvodaya Hospital

Dr. Dinesh Pendharkar
Director- Sarvodaya Cancer Institute

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