India sees 1 million deaths due to oral cancer every year - Make Sense Campaign
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Dr.Vashishth Maniar

Head and neck cancer is the second most common cancer in India. Among males, it is the most common form of cancer.
Head and neck cancer collectively refers to cancers arising in the oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx.

India has one of the highest rates of oral cancer in the world due to tobacco use, and the rates are still increasing. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the age of initiation of tobacco habits in India is 17 years and almost one million people die of oral cancer in India every year.

The other causes of head and neck cancer are poor oral hygiene, genetics, and infection with HPV.
Early detection is the key to curing head and neck cancer. Therefore, we urge people to look out for symptoms such as ulcers or swellings in the mouth, bleeding from the gum, voice changes, difficulties in swallowing or talking, and persistent coughs.

With the advent of new treatment methods, head and neck cancer is curable today. Surgical techniques are much more cosmetic and function-preserving than what they were previously. New techniques in radiotherapy include Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiotherapy(IGRT).

Modern targeted therapies such as Cetuximab add to the benefits of chemotherapy. Immunotherapy is also evolving and has shown benefits in some patients.

This article has been written by Dr.Vashishth Maniar, Director and Consultant Oncologist & Hematoncologist, Mumbai Oncocare Centre.