Over 25 percent of the total cancer patients in India suffer from oral and throat cancers, doctors at the AIIMS. They said the average age group suffering from oral cancers in India has dwindled from 55 years to 35 years.
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The doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences also said though there were five major factors behind the occurrence of oral and throat cancers -- smoking, spirits, spices, sharp teeth and smokeless tobacco -- but tobacco was the most prominent reason affecting more young people.
"The situation is changing now. 25 years back people of the 55-60 age group used to come to the doctors with oral and throat cancers but now the age group has reduced to 35 years. This is because of the easy availability of tobacco products despite the ban," said Alok Thakkar, a professor with AIIMS' ENT department.
Citing the late diagnosis of oral and throat cancers, Thakkar said one should visit a doctor immediately after witnessing symptoms such as red, colourless patches inside the mouth, ulcers, swellings, sour throat for more than a week and also change in the voice with roughness.
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"Mostly patients visit doctors at the late stage. People have to understand that only after a billion of cancerous cells develope, there will be a small swelling in the mouth during oral cancers, which becomes very late," said Thakkar.
Kapil Sikka, an assistant professor with the ENT department, said looking at the current status of availability of tobacco and cancer causing products in the country, India will see further rise in oral cancer patients for the next 15-20 years.
"A lot of people switch on the smokeless tobacco when they are asked to quit smoking, which is equally dangerous. This has to be stopped," he said. He said AIIMS treats 25 percent of the oral and throat cancer patients of the country. They were speaking to reporters ahead of a public lecture on oral and neck cancer being organised at the AIIMS.