PATNA: Oncologists blame tobacco usage for the high prevalence of oral cancer in the state.
“Oral cancer accounts for over 30% of all cancers reported in the country. Approximately 90% of people with oral cancer in the state are tobacco users,” city-based oncologist Dr V P Singh told this reporter on Monday and added the disease was more prevalent in males than in females.
According to Dr Singh, cigarette and ‘bidi’ are responsible for nearly 10-20% of oral cancer cases, while chewable or smokeless tobacco such as ‘khaini’ leads to 30% of the cases in Bihar.
“Tobacco usage is also to be blamed for the rise in lung cancer. Its cases have increased from less than 10% to 15% in cities like Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya. We fear that it may increase to 20% in the coming years,” Dr Singh said.
Of the 15 patients, who visit Dr Singh’s OPD per day, nearly four patients suffer from oral cancer and one or two of them have lung cancer. He said, “I have observed a 10% increase in the usage of tobacco after prohibition as people are trying to replace alcohol with tobacco.”
Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) oncologist Dr P N Pandit pointed out that incidences of oral cancer were high especially in North Bihar. “Every third person who visits the PMCH OPD is suffering from oral cancer. Tobacco products such as ‘khaini’, ‘guthka’, ‘paan masala’ and ‘zarda’ are used the most,” he said.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences-Patna (AIIMS-P) oncologist Dr Pritanjali Singh told this newspaper two or three patients suffering from head and neck cancers visited the hospital every day. “Three patients with head and neck cancer visited the OPD on Monday, two of whom would need surgical intervention,” she said.