In India, oral cancer accounts for about 30% of all types of cancer making it one among the top 3 cancers in India.These sombre statistics call for increased awareness on  various issues that have been directly related to the incidence of oral cancer like severe alcoholism, tobacco consumption in the form of both chewables and cigarettes, betel nut consumption and human papilloma virus.


Like we mentioned before, tobacco consumption makes the most common cause for cancer, with smokeless tobacco (ghutka, dip, snuff, chewing tobacco) increasing the likelihood for developing cancer of the cheeks, gums and lips by 50 times. There are a few warning signs that one must regularly look out, in the case of such habits, as well as a family history of oral cancers.

  1. Non-healing sores or ulcers in the head and neck region that do not heal spontaneously and persist for more than 2 weeks.

  2. Any swelling, rough spots, red, eroded areas on any region in your mouth.

  3. The development of white or red or speckled patched in the lining of the mouth that doesn’t resolve or rub off.


During a routine dental examination, your dentist will check for any irregularities, like bumps and discolorations. In case of any suspicious activity or history, a biopsy under local anaesthesia is recommended which will determine if there is any actual cause for worry.

In case there is, oral cancer is usually treated with surgical removal of the growth, followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy or both to eliminate any residual or satellite cancer cells.


Needless to say, cancer is never pretty and the one way to avoid it is steering clear of the journaled risk factors.

  1. Avoid tobacco and alcohol as far as possible.

  2. Eat a balanced diet and maintain good oral hygiene as bad oral hygiene can aggravate a case.

  3. Use a sunblock to protect yourself against UV radiation. This is especially important in tropical countries like India and South East Asia where squamous cell carcinoma makes up the bulk of oral cancer.

  4. Self check your head and neck regularly and visit your dentist in case of any doubts. Also, don’t skip out on your regular visit to the dentist!


The key to successful  treatment of any kind of cancer, including oral cancer is, early detection. While prevention IS undoubtedly the best cure, we recommend regular check ups to keep in track of your health status.