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Fight against oral cancer: NCP chief vows to raise issue in Parliament

India accounts for 86% of total oral cancer patients across the globe. Almost 90% of oral cancer is caused by chewing tobacco and eating gutka

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 23:45 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Sharad Pawar,tobacco
Sharad Pawar pledges at the event. (PTI)

The face of mission ‘oral cancer eradication by 2022,’ Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party chief and a cancer survivor, said he regrets chewing supari and wished someone had warned him about oral cancer 40 years ago.

Speaking at an event organised by Indian Dental Association (IDA) and Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) on Sunday, Pawar promised to raise the issue of tobacco menace in the Parliament.

“I chewed supari often and it caused oral cancer. I had to undergo major surgeries during which all teeth were removed. This has left me with difficulty in speaking, swallowing and inability to open my mouth completely,” said Pawar, who was invited to commemorate IDA’s mission.

Dr Ashok Dhoble, IDA secretary, said they have set up more than 2,000 Tobacco Suggestion Centers (TSC) for counselling tobacco consumers, and will set up 5,000 spot centers that will be used as diagnostic clinics.

“Anybody with burning sensation or ulcers in the mouth can approach these centers and avail quick diagnosis, which can lead to early treatment. Even if we can bring down the prevalence by 50%, it will be a huge achievement in terms of reducing economic burden and public health hazard,” said Dhobale.

India accounts for 86% of total oral cancer patients across the globe. Almost 90% of oral cancer is caused by chewing tobacco and eating gutka.

“More than 1 lakh new cases of oral cancer are detected every year in India, with 50% of them dying within a year of diagnosis. International reports suggest that India loses USD 6.7 billion to oral cancer, as more than 30% of cases are detected in people from a productive age group of below 35,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, adding that political will of veterans such as Pawar will create more awareness among people about the cause and curb tobacco consumption.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 23:45 IST