If you are a regular smoker of tobacco, tobacco products, or betel nut, check your face regularly for pre-cancer symptoms.

In 2021, a survey conducted by ICMR in West Bengal showed that 46.7 percent of men and 15.4 percent of women in the state are affected by cancer. Among them, mouth cancer (14%), tongue cancer (11%), larynx and esophagus cancer were seen in 10% and 7% of people respectively. In women, 19% of mouth, 14% of tongue, 5% of larynx and 10% of esophagus were seen. In other words, head and neck cancer, or mouth, tongue, throat and larynx cancer is increasing.

What is head and neck cancer?

If the mouth, throat, larynx, tonsils, thyroid, parotid, nose, sinuses, and upper part of the esophagus is affected by cancer, it is called ‘head and neck cancer’.

Cancer specialist surgeon Dr. Gautam Mukhopadhyay said, “About 91 percent of oral cancers are related to the use of tobacco and tobacco products. And if alcohol is added to that, the risk of cancer increases almost tenfold.” He says that the matter is of considerable concern. In his words, “Drinking alcohol alone will not cause oral cancer, but if there is tobacco in the association, the disease is likely to occur.” In India, besides tobacco, the use of tobacco products (gutkha, khaini, nasy, guraku) etc. increases the risk of cancer. The same can be said about Supuri-Jorda.”

That is to say, if you have a habit of smoking tobacco, tobacco products, drinking betel nut regularly, you should check your mouth regularly for pre-cancer symptoms. Be alert if you see any symptoms. If necessary, you should give up your addiction.

Dr. Mukhopadhyay also said, “Oral cancer is a little different than other cancers. In this type of cancer, some symptoms can be noticed earlier, it is called pre-cancer symptoms. In the same way that women are asked to do breast self-examination, mouth self-examination should be done. This time if it shows white, black or red spots on the face or tongue. Small sores or teeth are slightly loose. Then you must go to the doctor.”

Dr. Mukhopadhyay stated regarding the development of the symptoms, “First of all, if you have sores in your mouth for a long time, heavy bleeding or if you feel bad breath coming out of your mouth, you should go to the doctor. In addition, it can be seen that the jaws of the mouth are getting smaller or sub mucous fibrosis, bleeding while brushing the teeth. Apart from this, a painless lump may also appear in the throat. In this situation, it is urgent to go to the doctor.”

In addition, genetic factors, exposure to human papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr virus can also cause throat, larynx and nose cancer. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a herpes virus that is linked to various cancers. Recent studies show that EBV may also have a causal relationship with multiple sclerosis.

Treatment of the disease:

This type of cancer is mainly treated with surgery. Sometimes radiation is needed. And chemotherapy if absolutely necessary. Parotid and thyroid gland cancers require surgery.

Dr. Gautam Mukhopadhyay said, “If there are any symptoms, a biopsy should be done first. Many people think that biopsy spreads cancer. This is a complete misconception. Deep infection is mainly determined by biopsy. This includes tuberculosis. If cancer is detected in the report, the stage of the cancer is determined through tests like CT scan, MRI etc. He also said, if head and neck cancer has not spread fatally, surgery is completely curable. Currently, there are many advanced treatments available to cure the disease. First, the affected part is removed, and then plastic surgeons reconstruct it.

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Prevention of the disease: According to Dr. Mukhopadhyay, the disease should be prevented by increasing awareness. First of all, you should avoid over-intoxication. In addition to this, regular face examinations should be done. Many people do not come to the doctor even if they have pre-cancer symptoms. But when the excesses come, the matter gets out of hand to a large extent. Therefore, stricter tobacco control laws are needed. In this regard, we need to raise awareness among the people, and the government’s action regarding the sale of tobacco products is also necessary.

Consuming anything in excess causes damage to the body. Head and neck cancer caused by the use of tobacco and tobacco products is an important example. The disease is curable if it is diagnosed in the early stages. So, awareness should be the weapon to fight this cancer. It is best to quit smoking without waiting for the disease to develop. A healthy body is the direction of a healthy future.

This news is a creative derivative product from articles published in famous peer-reviewed journals and Govt reports:

1. Soldan, S.S., Lieberman, P.M. Epstein–Barr virus and multiple sclerosis. Nat Rev Microbiol 21, 51–64 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-022-00770-5
2. Wong, Y., Meehan, M. T., Burrows, S. R., Doolan, D. L. & Miles, J. J. Estimating the global burden of Epstein-Barr virus-related cancers. J. Cancer Res. Clin. Oncol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-021-03824-y (2021).
3. Laderach, F. & Munz, C. Epstein Barr virus exploits genetic susceptibility to increase multiple sclerosis risk. Microorganisms https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9112191 (2021).
4. Soldan, S. S. & Jacobson, S. in Neurotropic Viral Infections (ed. Reiss, C.) 175–220 (Springer, 2016).
5. Young, L. S., Yap, L. F. & Murray, P. G. Epstein-Barr virus: more than 50 years old and still providing surprises. Nat. Rev. Cancer 16, 789–802 (2016).

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