Oral Cancer: Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment

Authors: Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan, Kunnambath Ramadas, Hemantha Amarasinghe, Sujha Subramanian, Newell Johnson


Tobacco use and excessive alcohol use significantly raise the risk of oral cancer, and two-thirds of global incidence occurs in South Asia, with India accounting for one-fourth of all oral cancer deaths. In the United States oral cancer incidence and mortality rates have been steadily declining over the past two decades because of declining smoking prevalence and alcohol consumption. Chewing of betel quid and areca nut, especially among youth, explains why oral cancer ranks so high in India. Other risk factors come from mate drinking, viruses, chronic trauma, and genetic factors. Visual screening of the oral cavity, especially when performed by health care personnel, has shown itself to be cost-effective preventive method, even in low-and middle-income countries. Treatment, depending on the cancer stage, consists of surgery and radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy, and may result in side effects from radiotherapy.



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