GUWAHATI, Sept 5 - A daylong oral cancer training programme for ENT specialists, dentists and physicians working under the Directorate of Health Services, Government of Assam, was organised by the National Health Mission Assam in association with BBCI and Biocon Foundation here recently.
Dr GK Rath, Head of the National Cancer Institute, India, who attended the programme as a resource person, said that 80 per cent of the cancers can be cured if detected at an early stage.
He emphasised creating public awareness and screening for cancer of the oral cavity and also gave a brief overview of radiotherapy treatment in head and neck cancers.
Speaking on the occasion, BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki highlighted the burden of cancer in Assam and the north-eastern region. “Oral cancer is a major public health problem in the country and it ranks among the top three types of cancer. It constitutes roughly eight per cent of all cancers. The State, along with the entire north-eastern region, is fast becoming the hub of cancer incidence and deaths,” said Dr Kataki.
Other resource persons for the daylong training programme were Dr Praveen Birur from Bengaluru, Dr Prasenjit Chatterjee from Kolkata, Dr Arundhati Deka, Nodal Officer, State Tobacco Control Cell of Assam, and Dr Tashnin Rahman and Dr Ashok Kumar Das, both from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology, BBCI, and Dr Rakesh Mishra from the Department of Medical Oncology at BBCI.
Prof Rahman said the habit of chewing areca nut and tobacco products like zarda and khaini is rampant in our population and so the number of oral cancer patients in Assam is high.
“Oral cavity includes the lips, gum, tongue, hard palate, and buccal mucosa. Most patients with oral cancer present themselves for check-up at late stages due to ignorance about this disease and treatment with radical surgery is required. And many a time, such radical surgery results in facial disfigurement,” Dr Rahman said.
Dr Das spoke about the importance self-examination of oral cavity for detection of pre-cancerous lesions, and also about various surgical procedures for early and advance oral cavity cancers.