Nearly half of the newly diagnosed Head & Neck Cancers die within 12 months of diagnosis

Two-third of head and neck cancer is caused by tobacco

New Delhi : On the occasion of World Head and Neck Cancer Day on July 27, the experts have urged people to stay away from tobacco, as it is the major cause of this cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer occur in mouth, larynx, throat or nose. Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, cancer surgeon, Chairman Max Oncology and Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron Said, “Head & Neck Cancers are the biggest source of cancer burden in India. Nearly half of the newly diagnosed Head & Neck Cancers die within 12 months of diagnosis.

Paradoxically, two-thirds of head & neck cancers are related to known agents such as tobacco, areca nut and alcohol. Unfortunately, these causative agents are freely available either due to a weak policy or implementation or absence of it.” India witnesses 1.75 lac new cases of head and neck cancers every year. Of these 76% are males and 24% are females.

In India chewing tobacco is more compared to smoking form. 90% of oral cancers, throat cancers are due to tobacco use. India has the dubious distinction of having largest amount of chewing tobacco consumption in the world. It is a cheap and easily available addiction and its growing consumption in the last two decades has contributed to alarming rise in oral cancer.

Experts believe that there will be a billion deaths due to tobacco use by 21st century. If there is no intervention then 80% of these deaths will be from the developing countries.

According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, of the 28.6% of overall prevalence of consumption of tobacco, 21.4% use chewing tobacco in India, while 10.7% smoke cigarettes and bidis.

Government of India has taken landmark decisions by banning Gutka, flavoured, packaged chewing tobacco. In fact, as per the Supreme Court’s order on 23rd September 2016 smokeless tobacco products including twin pack were banned in India.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor Surgical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital said the situation is getting alarming, so ‘Pledge for Life’ campaign is the solution and a preventive strategy to reduce cancers in India. This campaign aims at making all educational institutes tobacco free so that children do not initiate tobacco use.

He said, “we must take all necessary steps to reduce cancers, especially those which are preventable. Our focus must be on youth for all preventive measures in order to have healthy society.13.5 lac people are dying in India every year due to tobacco use which is a major cause of cancer.”

Voice of Tobacco Victim patron on the lines of Maharashtra Government has urged the Chief Minister to ban sale of flavoured/scented supari.

The Food Safety Commissioner of the Maharashtra Government in its order dated 20th July, 2018 in the interest of public health has prohibited for one year , the manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation or sale of supari which is either flavoured, scented or mixed with any of the said addictives, and whether going by the name or form of flavoured/scented supari, whether packaged or unpackaged and/or sold as one product, or through packaged as separate products, sold distributed in such a manner so as to easily facilitate mixing by consumer, for it’s consumption.

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