Reassessment of Risk Factors for Oral Cancer


A total of 140 cases of histologically confirmed oral cancer were evaluated for their demographic details,dietary habits and addiction to tobacco and alcohol using a pre-designed structured questionnaire at the MahatmaGandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, in Central India. These cases were matched with three sets ofage and sex matched controls. Oral cancer was predominant in the age group of 50-59 years. Individuals on anon-vegetarian diet appeared to be at greater risk of developing oral cancer. Cases were habituated to consuminghot beverages more frequently and milk less frequently than controls. Consumption of ghutka, a granular formof chewable tobacco and areca nut, was significantly associated with oral cancer cases. Cases had been usingoral tobacco for longer duration than controls, and were habituated to sleeping with tobacco quid in theirmouth. Most cases were also addicted to smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption. Bidi (a crude cigarette)smoking was most commonly associated with oral cancer. On stratified analysis, a combination of regular smokingand oral tobacco use, as well as a combination of regular alcohol intake and oral tobacco use were significantlyassociated with oral cancer cases. Synergistic effects of all three or even two of the risk factors - oral tobacco use,smoking and alcohol consumption- was more commonly seen in cases when compared to controls.