Oral cancer is a growing epidemic in India: Cancon2018

May 29, 2018 0 By FM

2nd edition of Cancon – Head & Neck focuses on improving functional outcomes

Sreejiraj Eluvangal

Cancer specialists from across the country got together to share their insights and experiences at Cancon, which was focused on Head & Neck Cancer for its 2018 edition.

Organized by Cytecare Hospitals at Bangalore, the two-day conference was an interactive event in which cancer practitioners could learn from each other about the evolving field of head and neck cancer treatment.

The conference was held in the context of the rapid rise seen in head and neck cancers in India in recent years.
“India is the oral cancer capital of the world and it’s starting to be something of an epidemic,” declared Dr Girish Shetkar of Cytecare Hospitals, underlining the need for the event.

Others, such as Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor and head and neck surgeon at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, too pointed to the explosion of head and neck cancers in India and emphasized the need for the country to take the lead in finding a solution.

“Two fifths of the world’s head and neck patients reside in the Indian subcontinent,” pointed out Chaturvedi, who has been instrumental in getting laws passed on spreading cancer awareness via film pre-reels and graphic pictures on cigarette packets.

Chaturvedi pointed to an explosive increase in oral cancer cases areas like Ahmedabad in younger patients in recent years, and pointed out that even in foreign countries like the US, Indians tend to have a far higher incidence of such cancers compared to locals.

“Everywhere, it’s like an epidemic of cancer. We really need to learn new things, get together and form guidelines to tackle this increased number of (cancer cases),” said Dr Nirav Trivedi, who leads the Head and Neck Cancer Surgery team at Shanku’s Medicity, Mehsana, Gujarat.

Trivedi pointed out that at least in head and neck cancer, Indian surgeons can no longer depend exclusively on best practices developed in the West due to the differences in the kind of cases that they are faced with, and their sheer number.

Moreover, given the urgency of the problem, he said India cannot wait for practices in the West to catch up.

“Indian (clinicians) are realizing that their problems are so different from the patient point of view, from the infrastructure point of view, from the feasibility and finance point of view that there is no point in copying.”

The sessions focused on sharing best practices — especially in emerging areas of head and neck cancer surgery.