Introduction of Mouth Cancer
Mouth cancer is one form of malignancy that is very easily detected through an oral examination. It is one of the emerging health problems in Malaysia. While it is not among the top 10 cancers, it is prevalent especially among Indian ethnics where the incidence ranked within the top ten cancers in Malaysia. Studies have also shown that the Indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak are at an increased risk for this type of cancer. Most of the mouth cancer patients present at very late stages making ideal management impossible and thus leading to 5 years survival of less than 50% with those surviving having a poor quality of life. It was documented that the practice of oral habits such as smoking, betel quid chewing and alcohol consumption are the main risk habits to oral cancer in Malaysian population.
Apart from the risk habits mentioned above, the role of other risk factors has never been fully investigated. The dietary intake and cooking culinary methods vary among the ethnic group. Although the inter-ethnic variations in the incidence of mouth cancer may be attributed to environmental and life style factors, it is possible that it may also be due to the differences in their genetic makeup. Studies have identified that genetic polymorphism of certain genes played a role in development of cancer in the oral cavity.