In an alarming indicator of how fast oral cancer could be spreading, one out of every three candidates was rejected in the medical tests for recruitment into the army last month for visible symptoms of the disease.
Medical officers of Army’s Medical Test Board, who conducted the medical test of over 3,350 candidates, claimed they rejected around 1000 candidates for oral cancer symptoms.
The 12-day recruitment tests held at Kanpur concluded on April 27. Only 600 out of over 7,000 candidates who came for the recruitment test made the grade.
“Majority of them appeared to be addicted to ‘gutkha’ and had oral diseases in their mouth,” said a doctor.
“Oral cancer is spreading fast and a simple four-finger test where opening of mouth to an extent where four fingers can get in easily can help in detecting oral sub mucous fibrosis (OSMF), a kind of oral cancer,” said MP Mishra, director, JK Cancer Institute, Kanpur.
Mishra said apart from four-finger test, presence of white spot (leukoplakia), red spots (erythroplakia) and brown spots (malinoplakia) are also indicators of oral cancer, a ground enough for rejection in army recruitment.
“Yes, around a thousand candidates were rejected for mouth cancer symptoms with an advice that they should get themselves checked for early treatment,” confirmed Colonel Deepak Sharma, director, Army Recruitment Board, Lucknow.
Insisting that the adverse effect of chewing pan masala were visible on the health of youths, Sharma said youths who had some minor physical problems would be re-examined at Army Hospital in Lucknow.
Out of 7,000 candidates, 3350 had qualified for running test and of these only 600 were found fully fit for the recruitment.
Running tests were followed by medical tests, in which the highest rejection was for oral cancer.
Around 700 candidates were rejected for poor eyesight or being colour-blind while 650 other suffered from hydrocele.
Around 400 candidates suffered from physical disabilities like bone swelling, excessive sweating, deformed teeth, migraine, palpitation and flat-feet.
A few candidates were rejected for getting tattoos on their bodies.
“As per army recruitment norms, youths who get the tattoo done on their arms or other body parts are supposed to be highly emotional. They are prone to taking decisions without much deliberation and hence considered unfit for army jobs,” said a doctor.