RP oral cancer rising, cigarette smoking blamed
Cancer of the mouth due to cigarette smoking is the 11th most prevalent type of cancer in the Philippines and affects both men and women starting at age 50, reported the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS).
By next year, it estimated there will be 3,054 new cases of this disease with 1,563 cases in men and 1,491 in women.
Also by 2005, the number of deaths from oral-cavity cancer is expected to reach 1,786 with more men (910) than women (876) dying.
Survival rates, on the other hand, are 26.96 percent at five years and 16.85 at 10 years, according to the PCS 2005 Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates.
According to the study, cigarette smoking and betel nut chewing are the main causes of mouth cancer; excessive alcohol consumption and smoking cigarettes with the light inside the mouth increase the risk of getting the disease.
The study said cigarette smoking is the largest single cause of preventable death in the Philippines. Physicians and dentists have the opportunity, through oral examination, to see abnormal tissue changes and to detect oral cancer at an early stage. Annual oral examination starting at age 50 is recommended.
When there is difficulty in chewing, swallowing and moving the tongue and jaw, chances are, the oral cancer is already advanced, while a sore that does not heal, a lump and a reddish or whitish patch that persist are early signs.
Early cancer of the oral cavity is curable, said the PCS adding that surgery is the best treatment for this cancer type.
Among several types of cancers, however, lung cancer is the leading type with an estimated 17,238 cases by 2005, according to the study.
This type is a real stinker since there is no early detection method and majority of patients when diagnosed are already at an incurable stage.
Around 20,000 Filipinos die of smoking-related diseases yearly and represent P46 billion in medical services and economic losses.
Many children even at the age of 10 are already hooked to smoking, prompting legislators to ban selling and advertising of cigarettes near schools and in media.
The Philippines is one of the signatories to the World Health Organizationâ€™s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that seeks to regulate the sale, use, and advertising of cigarettes.
It also aims to reduce tobacco consumption by increasing their price and imposing higher taxes, among others.