Prevalence of Oral Premalignant Lesions and Its Risk Factors among the Adult Population in Udupi Taluk of Coastal Karnataka, India

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India.

2 Centre for Community Oncology, Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India.

3 Department of Statistics, Prasanna School of Public Health, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India.


Objective: Globally oral cancer is one of the ten most common cancers with prevalence being high in Central
and South East Asian countries. This survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of oral pre-malignant lesions
(OPML) and to identify their risk factors. Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was carried out among
2033 individuals aged ≥18 years. A questionnaire was administered to collect socio-demographic characteristics, various
risk factors for oral cancer and presence of its symptoms. Oral cavity of all the participants was examined in detail by
the study investigator as per WHO guidelines for the early diagnosis of oral neoplasia. Result: The prevalence of
OPML was found to be 3.73%. Among those with OPML, all were ever tobacco consumers and had poor oral hygiene.
A significant association was observed between OPML and younger age group (OR=2.56, 95% CI 1.08-6.02), males
(OR=26.76, 95% CI 8.40-85.19) and low socio-economic status (OR = 1.91, 95% CI 1.20-3.02). Tobacco (p<0.001),
alcohol (OR= 7.92, 95% CI 4.77-13.14) and areca nut consumption (OR = 5.48, 95% CI 3.42-8.77) were strongly
associated with OPML. On multivariate analysis among ever tobacco users, OPML was associated with younger
individuals, males and those using smokeless forms of tobacco (p <0.05). The study showed that the participants with
OPML were more likely to be never married (OR=1.6, 95% CI 0.92-2.96),to be unskilled workers (OR= 1.45, 95% CI
0.61-3.43), to have suffered from oral trauma (OR =1.30, 95% CI 0.75-2.26), to have consumed hot and spicy food
frequently (OR=1.53, 95% CI 0.96-2.24), to have consumed fruits infrequently (OR=1.53, 95% CI 0.90-2.59) and to
report family history of any cancer (OR = 1.29, 95% CI 0.58-2.87) . However, these associations were statistically
insignificant. Conclusion: The study reinforces that use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol and areca nut are the
modifiable risk factors for OPML.


Main Subjects