GUWAHATI, Feb 15 - Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati in association with Tata Trusts recently started a pilot study to develop an efficacious oral cancer screening strategy in India.
In phase-I, risk prediction model will be used for identification of those at greatest risk of oral cancer, thus reducing the number of screened individuals and enhancing cost effectiveness. In this phase, 15,000 current and former tobacco and alcohol users will be recruited for risk prediction.
In view of high prevalence of oral, cervical and breast cancers in the country, the Health Ministry started a National Programme for Prevention and Early Detection of cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke a few years ago.
Chewable tobacco, betel-nut chewing, poor oral hygiene, alcohol consumption are important risk factors for oral cancer.
In phase-II of the pilot study, high risk individuals will be screened using auto-fluorescence, a highly sensitive test for diagnosing oral cancer to rule out the disease. In this phase, another 15,000 individuals will be recruited.
Participants for the study will be recruited from Kamrup and Sonitpur districts of Assam. Finally, individuals positive in auto-fluorescence, will be recruited for brush biopsy to look for suspicious cells to confirm the diagnosis of oral cancer.
Assuming prevalence of oral precancerous lesions in the population as 1.5-3 per cent, it is expected that 225 to 450 oral precancerous lesions will be diagnosed. BBCI in partnership with Piramal Swasthya, is also conducting awareness and screening for cervical, breast and oral cancer in rural Kamrup district of Assam since October 2017 with the help of a mobile cancer detection van.