World head and neck cancer day: Nearly half of newly diagnosed cases turn fatal

On the occasion of world head & neck cancer day on July 27, experts have urged people to stay away from tobacco as it is the major cause of this cancer.

Commenting on causes of cancer in mouth, larynx, throat and nose, cancer surgeon Dr Ravi Kannan said, “Head & neck cancers are the biggest source of cancer burden in India. Nearly half of the newly diagnosed head & neck cancers patients die within 12 months of diagnosis. Paradoxically, two-thirds of head & neck cancers are related to known agents such as tobacco, areca nut and alcohol. Unfortunately, these causative agents are freely available either due to a weak policy or implementation or absence of it.”

India witnesses 1.75 lakh new cases of head and neck cancers every year. Of these 76% are males and 24% are females.

In India, chewing tobacco is more compared to smoking form. Around 90% of oral cancers, throat cancers are due to tobacco use. India has the dubious distinction of having largest amount of chewing tobacco consumption in the world. It is a cheap and easily available addiction and its growing consumption in the last two decades has contributed to alarming rise in oral cancer.

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, of the 28.6% of overall prevalence of consumption of tobacco, 21.4% use chewing tobacco in India, while 10.7% smoke cigarettes and bidis.

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