Background: The expatriate population in Qatar largely comprises workers from the Indian subcontinentwhich has a very high rate of oral malignancy. Social and cultural habits and as well premalignant risk factorsin this population remain prevalent even after migration. Materials and
Methods: This cross sectional studyassessed the prevalence of risk factors and occurrence of oral precancerous lesions in a low income groupexpatriate community from the Indian subcontinent residing in Qatar.
Results: Among the 3,946 participantsscreened for oral premalignant lesions 24.3% (958) were smokers and 4.3 % (169) were pan chewers while 6.3%(248) were users of both smoked and smokeless forms of tobacco. Significantly higher proportion of industriallaborers (49.9%) followed by drivers (24.1%) were found to be smokers (p=0.001). The prevalence of whitelesions was higher in smokers versus non-smokers 3.5% versus 2.3% (p=0.111), however this difference wasstatistically non-significant. Red and white lesions were highly significant (i.e. 1.2 % and 10.9% respectively) inthe subjects with pan chewing and smoking habits (p=0.001). A significant proportion (8.9%) of the subjects withpan chewing habit showed evidence of oral precancerous lesions (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Even though smokingand pan chewing were two significant risk factors detected in this population, their prevalence and occurrenceof premalignant lesions are low as compared to the studies conducted in their home countries.