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Tobacco in chewing form major cause of head and neck cancers

Tobacco in chewing form is a major cause of head and neck cancers, a study conducted here revealed.

According to the study, 50 per cent of head and neck cancers are caused by the use of tobacco of which 96 per cent are caused by consumption of tobacco in chewing form.

Conducted by one of the largest cancer hospitals here — Dharamshila Hospital and Research Center — the study was carried out on a total of 915 cancer patients registered and operated under head and neck surgical oncology between the year 2000 to 2010.”

As per our study, tobacco in chewing form has been the major cause for head and neck cancers. We also found that smoking is the second largest addiction that leads to mouth and throat cancers including cancers of food pipe,”Dr S Khanna, Executive Director, Dharamshila Hospital and Research Center said.”

Many patients had developed cancer after 10 years of continuous use of tobacco products and there were patients who had been consuming tobacco for last few years only,”he said.

Treatment modality for such cancers also depended on the stage at which patients seek treatment.In very early cases, surgery is the mode of treatment. But in advanced cases radiotherapy or chemotherapy or both may be used to treat the cancer. Nearly 66 per cent of the head and neck cases were advised to undergo radiotherapy and around 30 per cent of cases required chemotherapy to treat the disease, Dr Khanna said.

“Depending upon the stage of the disease, co-morbid conditions, age of the patient and treatment modalities used in the treatment of the patient, the survival rate of the cancer patients was between 20 to 30 per cent,”he said.

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