Around 13,500 people are diagnosed with oral cancer and around 8,500 die from it every year in Bangladesh, according to the latest estimates published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
This is the second most-common type of cancer among men and women, together, in Bangladesh. It is third most-common when just men are considered and fifth most-common when just women are considered.
The major factors that increase the risk of oral cancer are: smoking, consuming tobacco and alcohol, an unclean mouth, and negligence in teeth cleaning.
Consuming smokeless tobacco products – like jordda, shadapata, gul, khaini, and nassi – are the main causes of oral cancer.
This type of cancer can be prevented by raising awareness among the public about the negative effects of tobacco consumption, and the necessity of taking care of one's mouth and teeth.
Rotary Club of Dhaka Golden City and Community Oncology Centre Trust jointly organised a webinar titled "Challenges in Managing Oral Cancer" to create public opinion in this regard on Saturday.
According to the World Health Organisation, three types of cancer can be detected in developing countries, before any of their symptoms appear on the patient's body, to prevent untimely deaths.
There are some governmental and non-governmental initiatives to raise awareness and detect breast and cervical cancers, but no such programme is apparent for detecting oral cancer in Bangladesh.
Dr Md Habibullah Talukder Ruskin, associate professor and head of Cancer Epidemiology
National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, Dhaka, delivered the welcome address at the programme. Meanwhile, Patravoot Vatanasapt, former chairman of Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, presented the keynote speech at the event.
Among the panel speakers were: Dr Md Nadimul Hasan, associate professor and head of Department of Faciomaxillary Surgical Oncology, National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital; Dr Mahmuda Akhter, associate professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, BSMMU; Professor Kazi Manzur Kader, senior consultant and head of Department of Oncology, Delta Medical Centre; and Dr Arun Shahi, consultant medical oncologist, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal.