British Asians 'at higher risk of developing oral cancer'

Dental / Dental Practitioner News

The British Asian community has been warned of the particularly high risk of oral cancer that they face.

Dr Chet Trivedy, an accident and emergency consultant at Kingston Hospital and a trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, has indicated that many traditional habits that are prevalent among British Asians could put them at a greater risk of this form of cancer.

“An expert from the Oral Health Foundation has warned British Asians that they face a particularly high risk of developing oral cancer.“

Specifically, the chewing of products containing betel nuts and tobacco - also referred to as paan or paan masala - can be extremely risky, as these substances are commonly used in Asian communities as stimulants and are freely sold in many Asian grocery stores, despite being highly carcinogenic.

A recent study led by the University of York suggested that as many as 250,000 deaths worldwide are caused by smokeless tobacco products every year, with south and south-east Asia accounting for almost three-quarters of this figure.

Dr Trivedy said: "I encourage British Asian communities to spot the warning signs: ulcers which do not heal within two weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and any unusual lumps in the head or neck area. Visit a dentist or doctor if they notice anything unusual."

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