Oral Cancer – The Two Extremes

In India we often find the roads and walls painted red and the reason for this is nothing but the after effect of chewing a processed form of betel nut a.k.a  ‘Ghutka’.  Recently the Government of India imposed a ban on the packaging of this addictive substance but it is a little too early to speculate how the overall numbers in consumption might change nevertheless.

Some extreme cases reported in parts of India were so bizarre that an individual who consumed a little too much of this substance was shocked to find his tooth brush pierce through his cheeks. I do not have words to explain this horrifying story. Images seen from a recently reported article in one of the leading newspapers were grotesque. This is really not how Mouth Cancer should be, self-imposed to be precise.

Someone conducted an experiment and I cannot vouch for this but was tempted to pen it down:: A commercially available packet of the substance was put in a glass of water with a brand new blade. The morning after, the blade was properly rusted and was broken into pieces (sounds a little exaggerated). We often hear about how Coke/Pepsi was used by US Police to clean blood stains on the Road but this experiment is much more thought provoking than the soda cleaning example. I recently took a sabbatical from driving my own vehicle and was commuting via public transportation in Hyderabad/India and was shocked to find out how the city is painted in red and 90% of the Auto Drivers were indulging in this habit while not to forget the frequent pungent breath of this substance from many a men passengers I encountered in these luxury buses being run by the state. Interestingly, women are no exception.

[Researchers have found a 225-percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007]. The other extreme is the linkage between oral sex and large number of oral cancer cases reported in the US among men due to HPV (human papillomavirus).