Author(s): Thulaseedharan Sreedharan1, Sonia Lawrence2, Ajayan Paithottiyil Varkey3, Ajaykumar Kaimathuruthil Francis4
BACKGROUND Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Oral cancer represents 14% of all cancer cases in Kerala.
The aim of this study is to find out the aetiological factors, symptomatology, morphologic types and the distribution in the sub-sites of oral cavity.
MATERIALS AND METHODS A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of ENT, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala from May 2009 to October 2013; 136 patients (88 males and 48 females) with histopathologically confirmed oral cancers were studied. Variables such as age, sex, residing area, occupation, educational level, socio-economic status, substance abuse, oral hygiene, family history and premalignant conditions were assessed. The presenting complaints, the site, morphology and histopathology of the lesions were noted.
RESULTS Mean age in this study was 57.83 with male-to-female ratio of 1.83:1. Majority of cases were from socially and economically weaker section, 62% patients were smokers, 45% patients were alcoholic, 41% patients were pan chewers and 90% had more than one bad habit; 72.05% patients had poor orodental hygiene. Most common symptom in our patients was growth in the mouth. Tongue and buccal mucosa were the most affected sites. Majority presented with ulcerative type and most of the cases were squamous cell carcinoma.
Oral cancers are mainly seen in males of 55 – 64 years’ age group. Important aetiological factors identified in this study are substance abuse, poor oral hygiene and poor socio-economic status. Tobacco consumption is the most dominant risk factor. Most common symptom in our patients is growth in the mouth. Tongue and buccal mucosa are the most affected sites. Most of the cases were squamous cell carcinoma. The study of aetiology and common clinical presentations may help in prevention, early detection and management.