GUWAHATI, March 20 - Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) under the aegis of the Foundation for Head and Neck Oncology (FHNO) in India will start a two-year fellowship in oral oncology from this year.
The fellowship under the aegis of FHNO is provided in only 18 selected centres across the country, and each centre is carefully selected for starting the fellowship programme by an expert panel from the FHNO.
Oral cavity cancer or mouth cancer is now a major public health problem in the Indian subcontinent, where it ranks among the top three types of cancer. In India, an estimated 1,20,000 new mouth cancer patients are diagnosed every year and around 75,000 people die due to mouth cancer in the country. In the last six years, there was a whopping 115 per cent increase in the number of mouth cancer patients in India.
In addition to the oral oncology fellowship, BBCI also provides two-year fellowship in head and neck oncology.
According to BBCI Director Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, the fellowship programme on oral oncology would help oral health professionals of the North East in managing the ever rising number of mouth cancer patients in the region.
�Because of high consumption of areca nut and chewable or smokeless tobacco by people of the State and the North East in general, the risk of developing mouth cancer in the population remains higher than in other parts of the country. The institute is making all efforts necessary in creating a pool of trained manpower in the field of cancer education, research, and treatment,� he said, adding that this should help the region overcome the present shortage of doctors and allied health staff for the proper management of cancer patients.
Dr Tashnin Rahman, Professor, Department of Head and Neck Oncology, said that mouth cancers were traditionally being thought of as a disease mainly affecting people of the older age group, but nowadays, due to rampant prevalence of chewable tobacco habits among the teenagers, mouth cancer patients as young as in the age of early twenties are seen and which is an alarming situation.
�If public health measure like prohibition of chewable tobacco is not carried out now, in the near future we will encounter a large number of younger persons with mouth cancer,� he added.
BBCI has partnered with Tata Trusts in developing and validating a new tool for early detection of oral cancer in the rural areas of Kamrup and Darrang districts.