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Oral Cancer – The Two Extremes

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In India we often find the roads and walls painted red and the reason for this is nothing but the after effect of chewing a processed form of betel nut a.k.a  ‘Ghutka’.  Recently the Government of India imposed a ban on the packaging of this addictive substance but it is a little too early to speculate how the overall numbers in consumption might change nevertheless.

Some extreme cases reported in parts of India were so bizarre that an individual who consumed a little too much of this substance was shocked to find his tooth brush pierce through his cheeks. I do not have words to explain this horrifying story. Images seen from a recently reported article in one of the leading newspapers were grotesque. This is really not how Mouth Cancer should be, self-imposed to be precise.

Someone conducted an experiment and I cannot vouch for this but was tempted to pen it down:: A commercially available packet of the substance was put in a glass of water with a brand new blade. The morning after, the blade was properly rusted and was broken into pieces (sounds a little exaggerated). We often hear about how Coke/Pepsi was used by US Police to clean blood stains on the Road but this experiment is much more thought provoking than the soda cleaning example. I recently took a sabbatical from driving my own vehicle and was commuting via public transportation in Hyderabad/India and was shocked to find out how the city is painted in red and 90% of the Auto Drivers were indulging in this habit while not to forget the frequent pungent breath of this substance from many a men passengers I encountered in these luxury buses being run by the state. Interestingly, women are no exception.

[Researchers have found a 225-percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007]. The other extreme is the linkage between oral sex and large number of oral cancer cases reported in the US among men due to HPV (human papillomavirus).

Published on : Feb 21st, 2011

About the Author

Rahul Pathri
Rahul Pathri is the founder/CEO for Docturnal. He has a bachelors in Biology with an Executive Management from IIM Calcutta. Currently assumes the role of a Data Scientist & has been an IT guy in his past life working in the US biotech industry as well as Multinationals in India.
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  • Comment by Shekhar
    September 23, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    The most gruesome thing one can actually see in India is when you see an ultra luxurious car (like a high end Audi or a Mercedes) suddenly pull over at the road side and a well groomed head pops out of the passenger window spewing a mug load of blood red colored spit leaving a collage of sorts on the street or the wall nearby.

    It’s like a very fashionable way of leaving ones mark on the colorful heritage of our great country.

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    September 23, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    Manikchand and other gutka sellers are going out of business. I hope we need to find an alternate methods to use these machines for cancer detection.

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    While the packets are banned, more than 50% of manufacturers are in violation. On a positive note, the consumption of ghutka should have come down insignificantly

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