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Oral cancer found in those below 30

Smoking, chewing tobacco and nicotine-based products may be perceived as ‘cool’ for some. Tobacco is a widespread epidemic costing millions of lives worldwide.

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Highlights

Symptoms mimic regular mouth blisters so be careful

Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco usage, causing about 90 per cent of all lung cancers.

This cancer starts in the mouth cavity, either on the tongue, lower lip, gum, and jaw or on the floor of the mouth.

Cigars can trigger tumours related to oral cavity, throat or voice box, oesophagus and lungs.

Smoking, chewing or snuffing tobacco and nicotine-based products may be perceived as ‘cool’ for some, but it is not. These leaves in any form, be it cigarettes, cigars, or snuff can play havoc with one’s health, at any age! Tobacco is a widespread epidemic costing millions of lives worldwide annually and it may be astonishing that even those exposed to passive smoke bear the equal brunt as direct, active users. 

Despite many awareness campaigns and advertisements worldwide and that mandatory reel before starting a movie in the theatres in our country, tobacco usage is rampant. It is, unfortunately, picking up among the youth.

Triggers cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, vision and hearing loss Tobacco usage is the primary reason behind many types of cancer, including lung and oral cancer. It is also a major trigger behind cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic lung infections, vision and hearing loss, and dental issues. That is because tobacco is chock-a-block with poisonous toxic substances, cancer-causing agents-carcinogens, and nicotine – an addictive substance, a crucial component in all these products.

Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco usage, causing about 90 per cent of all lung cancers. It increases the risk of oral cancer by ten times compared to non-smokers. Cigars and pipes are no good either, as they can trigger the tumours related to the oral cavity, throat or voice box, oesophagus and of course, lungs. Chewing tobacco and snuff in the form of leaves packed into pouches, expedite the chances of getting affected by cancers of lips, cheek and gums multi-fold besides oesophageal and pancreatic cancers.

Oral cancer starts in the mouth cavity

Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that starts in the mouth cavity, either on the tongue, lower lip, gum, and jaw or on the floor of the mouth when abnormal cells begin growing out of control. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer. While it is often found on the floor of the mouth and tongue for men, it is detected on the tongue and gums for women. Oral cancer is of various types and can affect all genders. 

Though mostly detected among the age group 45 and above, doctors these days are unfortunately witnessing a growing number of cases in those below 30 years. There are various types of oral cancer and like in any other type of cancer, early diagnosis is the key to eliminating it.

Tobacco is loaded with carcinogens, make genetic changes in mouth cavity

Symptoms of oral cancer initially mimic some regular blisters in red and white colours but can spread to other parts of the oral cavity if not addressed on time. Ever wondered about the role of tobacco in causing oral cancer, one should understand these products are loaded with carcinogens. When they enter the body, these chemicals trigger genetic changes in the mouth cavity leading to oral cancer. Besides genetic differences, the smoke that is emitted out of burnt tobacco releases radioactive materials, when inhaled, can cause cancer to both active and passive smokers. 

And if one thinks, cigars, chewing tobacco and getting used to smokeless tobacco products like snuff may not be cancerous, think again! The combination of nitrate and nitrite, notoriously known as cancer-causing substances along with tobacco-specific nitrosamines cost the same peril caused by cigarettes and in the same breath! 

The only way possible to prevent oral cancer is to quit tobacco and adopt a healthy lifestyle right now. If you are addicted, seek help from counsellors and join rehabilitation.

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