‘All Myanmar mouth cancer patients chew betel’: Study


Photo: Mizzima

A study in Myanmar has found that all mouth cancer patients chew betel researchers reported at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress, Medical Press reported on 20 November. Betel quid chewing often starts in adolescence and is associated with smoking and drinking alcohol, which are also risk factors for oral cancer.

Of the 307 cancer patients who visited Toungoo Hospital that year, 67 (22%) had Head And Neck Squamous Cell Cancer (HNSCC) and were included in the study. Out of the 67 patients, 41 were male and 26 were female. The mean age was 59.2 years (range 36 to 81) for men and 58.7 years (range 19 to 86) for women. The most common cancer site was oral cavity (34.3%), followed by larynx (25.4%), oropharynx (11.9%), nasopharynx (11.9%), hypopharynx (10.4%), lip (4.5%), and nose (1.5%).

Regarding lifestyle habits of the entire study population, 20 patients (30%) chewed betel only; 19 patients (28%) chewed betel and smoked tobacco; 19 patients (28%) chewed betel, smoked tobacco, and consumed alcohol. Two patients smoked tobacco and drank alcohol, two smoked tobacco only, two had none of the risk factors, and information was unavailable for three patients.

All oral cavity (mouth) cancer patients were betel quid chewers. In addition, 48% smoked tobacco and 44% consumed alcohol. The majority (87%) of mouth cancer patients said they kept betel quid in the buccal cavity (cheek) most of the time, the report said.

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