Guwahati: Cancer is a killer disease, and it is a cause of serious concern in India, especially in the eight states of Northeast India.  

Though there is not a comprehensive routine screening for oral, head, and neck cancers, there are several preventative check-ups that can help in detecting cancer in early stages.

While very few of us visit our physicians or a dentist for a general check up, there are several ways you can perform self-exams for oral, head and neck cancers.

According to well known oncologists, head and neck cancers are caused mainly due to alcohol and tobacco use, and also the human papilloma virus (HPV).

According to the American Cancer Society studies, head and neck cancers begin in cells that line the nose, mouth, or throat.

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India contributes to nearly 60 percent of head and neck cancer patients worldwide and this number is expected to double by 2030. Head and neck cancer accounts for about 4 percent of all cancers in the US.

These cancers affect men twice as much as compared to women.

Head and neck cancer commonly refers to squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue, mouth, throat or voice box. It also includes cancers that arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, thyroid gland, and salivary glands.

Oral cancers are the commonest sites involved in head and neck cancer. There is a strong link between HPV and head and neck cancers. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that affects millions of people across the globe.

Luckily, there is a vaccine to prevent HPV. The HPV vaccine, also known as Gardasil, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 to prevent cervical cancer linked to HPV.

Scientists claim when oropharyngeal cancer is related to the HPV virus, it is treatable. 

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