CHENNAI: The incidence of oral cancer has been increasing, particularly among teenage boys, according to statistics released by the Chennai Metropolitan Tumour Registry attached to the Cancer Institute in Adyar. The incidence of mouth cancer which was 0.6 per 1,00,000 males in the age group of 15-34, went up to 2.3 in 2013. Experts say the incidence now is expected to have touched 2.5. Among people in the 35-64 age group, the incidence rose from 12.4 to 18 in the same period.
Among women, incidence went down. Although the annual rate of increase declined in women for mouth cancer, there was an increase in incidence for tongue cancer. The registry showed the annual rate of increase in tongue cancer at 2.5% among men and 1.4% among women. “Numerically, it may still seem small among youth but it’s scary because we have come to this many cases from almost nothing a few decades ago. It’s a four times increase in three decades, and the numbers are growing rapidly,” said Cancer Institute professor and head of epidemiology R Swaminathan.