Oral cancer cases higher in developing countries

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Dubai: Oral cancer is the sixth most
common cancer reported globally with roughly two thirds of
these reported in developing countries, according to a report.

Regardless of nationality, roughly half of long-term
smokers will die from the effects of tobacco smoking, be it
oral cancer, lung cancer or cardiovascular disease.

In India 20 deaths per 100,000 are caused by oral
cancer as compared to 10 deaths per 100,000 in the US and two
deaths per 100,000 in the Middle East.

Oral cancer, as well as updates in maxillofacial
reconstruction, microneurosurgery, oral trauma, and facial
cosmetic and orthognathic surgery, will be reviewed at the 2nd
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Congress to be held in Dubai
from May 1-5.

Organised by Imedex in association with Arab Health,
this year`s meeting will provide a number of new features that
explore the rapidly reshaping field of oral and facial

"The main causes of oral cancer have classically been
related to smoking tobacco products and the Middle East has a
higher rate of tobacco consumption then many other countries
and this includes the use of the Shisha or Hookah," said Dr
Eric J Dierks, Clinical Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial
Surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, USA and
director of the Fellowship in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery
based at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon, who will
be speaking at the congress.

"There is a myth that smoking through a Shisha pipe
is safer than smoking cigarettes but this is almost certainly
not the case. Several recent studies have indicated that
Shisha smokers actually inhale more of the cooled smoke than
would a cigarette smoker thereby increasing their exposure to
carcinogens within the smoke," he said.

To an ever greater extent, human papilloma virus
(HPV) is a causative factor in cancer of sites in the
oropharynx such as the tonsil or the base of the tongue,
although HPV related cancer is much less common within the
mouth itself.

Approximately two thirds of cancers of the base of
tongue and tonsil are caused by HPV and 80 per cent of these
cases occur in men.

"There is no relationship between either smoking or
alcohol intake with the HPV associated oropharyngeal cancer.
Fortunately, HPV associated oropharyngeal cancer actually
carries a much better prognosis than does a cancer in
this location that is not associated with HPV. Although
research is ongoing, the reason for this is as yet unclear,"
Dierks said.

The early diagnosis of oral cancer is extremely
important because not only is the prognosis significantly
better for early stage cancer, but the treatment involved is
often less extensive, Dr Dierks said.