EXPERT WARNS ASIANS AGAINST CHEWING PAAN.
(1 November 2003)
mouth cancer expert Dr Vinod K Joshi is warning Asians, particularly
women, about the dangers of chewing paan. Dr Joshi said, "Watch
your mouth! Mouth cancers have a higher proportion of deaths per
number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma.
In the UK, the mortality rate is just over 50% despite treatment.
There are about 1700 deaths per year in the UK. This is because
of late detection. In its very early stages, mouth cancers can be
almost invisible making it easy to ignore, although if detected
and treated early enough the survival rate can rise from 50% to
mouth cancer awareness week (9-15 November 2003) theme of 'Watch
your Mouth' was devised to instruct the public to examine their
mouths on a regular basis as at present there is no screening programme
for the cancer. Mouth Cancers can occur in any part of the mouth,
tongue, lips and throat. There
has been a 23% increase in cases reported from 3500 (1995) to over
4300 (1999). The use of tobacco, in all forms, and to a lesser extent
alcohol abuse are the major risk factors for the development of
mouth cancer. Smoking and alcohol consumption together greatly increase
the risk factors. The risk of mouth cancer is increased 6-28 times
in current smokers and the effects of tobacco and alcohol account
for 75% of mouth cancer.
25% of mouth cancers are not associated with any known risk factors.
It has now finally been recognized that mouth cancer can occur in
either gender at any age. There is a growing concern at the increase
among younger age groups. Public knowledge about mouth cancer is
low, even more so in the socio-economic groups where the incidence
can reduce your chances of getting mouth cancers by:
Not smoking or chewing tobacco, gutkha/paan.
Limiting alcohol consumption.
Having a healthier "low meat, low fat" diet, rich in
vegetables and fruit with servings of bread, cereals or beans
can improve your chances of survival by detecting a mouth cancer
early. Be self-aware of anything abnormal. Perform regular, self-examinations
and beware of:
A sore in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks
A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
A lump or overgrowth of tissue anywhere in the mouth or neck
A chronic sore throat or hoarse voice that does not heal
A feeling that something is caught in the throat
Difficulty chewing or swallowing
Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth
Swelling in the jaw that affects the fit or comfort of your denture
is a thin slice of the areca nut and lime paste wrapped inside a
betel leaf and has been chewed for centuries in India. Tobacco is
often added. For many British South Asians its use is culturally
bound. In parts of India and Asia where chewing tobacco or betel
nut is very common, the incidence of oral cancer is 3 times higher.
In several areas of India, oral cancer accounts for about 40% of
all female cancer deaths.
popularity of chewable tobacco ready-packaged in small sachets (gutkha),
particularly among the young, is a growing concern for doctors in
India. They are already reporting a rise in pre-cancerous lesions
in the mouth. There is a co-relation between areca nut use and the
development of mouth cancer (oral squamous cell carcinoma) and its
precursors leukoplakia and submucous fibrosis. No statistics have
yet been collected to quantify the risk to British South Asians.
THE RESTORATIVE DENTISTRY ONCOLOGY CLINICS
Restorative Dentistry Oncology Clinics (RDOC) held at St Luke's
Hospital, Bradford and at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, provide
oral care and advice to patients before, during and after their
cancer treatment. Dr Vinod K Joshi is the Consultant in Restorative
Dentistry at RDOC.
here to visit the Mouth
Cancer Awareness web site or call 0845-126 0479.