Objective: We estimated the time trends in the incidence and the risk of developing an oral cancer in Mumbai, Indian population using the data collected by the Bombay Population Based Cancer Registry during the 15 year period from 1986 to 2000.
Methods: A total of 9,670 oral cancers (8.2% of all neoplasms) were registered, of which 6577 were in males and 3093 in females (10.7% and 5.4% of the respective totals for the two genders) . For evaluation of the trend, we applied a linear regression model based on the logarithm of the observed incidence rates. The annual percentage changes were also computed for the incidence rates to evaluate the time trend.
Results: In males, a statistically significant decreasing trend in the overall age-adjusted incidence rates were observed during the period 1986 to 2000, with an yearly decrease of 1.70%. This decrease was significant for men above the age of 40, but for young adult men below the age of 40, there was no significant decrease, the level being stable. In females, the overall decreasing trend in the age-adjusted incidence rates of oral cancers was not significant, but in the age group 40-59, a significant decline was observed. The probability estimates indicated that one out of every 57 men and one out of every 95 women will contract any oral cancer at some time in their whole life and 97% of the chance is after he or she completes the age of 40.
Conclusion: The observed decreasing trend in oral cancers in Indian men may be attributed to a decrease in the usage of pan and tobacco. The high prevalence of the usage of smokeless tobacco among young adult men and women may explain the stable trend in oral cancer incidence in this group. These findings help to strengthen the association between tobacco use and oral cancer risk.