The situation could be still graver as many cases of the disease went unreported, Secretary-General of the Indian Dental Association Dr Ashok Dhoble told PTI from Mumbai.
"Cases of the disease and deaths resulting from it in rural areas and among the poorer sections of society are hardly registered," he noted. He pointed out that with the high prevalence of smokers and widespread use of other chewable tobacco products, India has seen a steep growth in the number of oral cancer patients in the past decade.
In fact, Dr Dhoble said, oral cancer approximated to 40 per cent of all cancer-related disease in the country with the Northeastern states mostly affected. "All Northeastern states are badly affected by the disease.
The states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are also affected," he said, adding every third person in these states used tobacco-related products.
Talking about measures to curb the prevalence of the deadly disease, he said that nothing short of a total ban on the use of tobacco was the only way.