Oral cancer is the second most common type of cancer among Sri Lankans and six new patients are identified with oral cancer daily, Cancer Control Programme Director Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana said.
Oral cancer is the commonest cancer among Sri Lankan males. Oral cancer is included among the ten most common cancers among females.
Addressing a health seminar held at the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB) in Colombo yesterday she said that oral cancer accounts for two to three deaths per day with the second highest mortality ratio among cancer deaths reported among males. Currently 70 percent of the oral cancers are reported at a late stage (in third and fourth stages) which limits the possibility of getting a good outcome for the patient.
Due to the long-term treatment for oral cancers, restriction of day to day activities, reduction of facial aesthetics and quality of life, as well as mental and economic hardships would occur for the patient and his/ her family. The main risk factors of oral cancer are using betel quid, tobacco and arecanut related products, smoking and alcohol. In Sri Lanka 45.7 percent of males and 5.3 percent of females use some type of a tobacco product (smoke / smokeless). In Sri Lanka 34.8 percent of males and 0.5 percent of females use alcohol, she said.