Date: 21 Mar 2009

Prevalence of head and neck cancers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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Head and neck cancer constitute one of the commonest cancers in India. Use of smokeless tobacco (pan masala, gutka, zarda, etc.) is the maximum in Gujarat, especially in and around Ahmedabad, and it is responsible for a large majority of these cancers.

Aim and objective

The present study was carried out to study the patient’s characteristics, prevalence, treatment modalities and histopathological subtypes of head and neck cancer in and around Ahmedabad.


A cross-sectional and observational study was carried out at the Head and Neck Services Department of Aastha Oncology Associates, Medi-Surge Hospitals, Ahmedabad, from December 2006 to May 2007. Patients were made to fill up the Case Record Form (CRF) with their informed consent. Proforma of the CRF included patient’s age, gender, income, education, family history, lifestyle, signs and symptoms, various investigations, treatment options and adverse effects during treatment and follow up. Preponderance of cancer was found in males (86%) with maximum prevalence in age group 41–60 years (69%). 58% cases were habitual tobacco chewers. Majority of head and neck cancers constituted the tongue, buccal mucosa and alveolus cancers. Radiotherapy and surgery were major treatment options in 44% patients. Blood parameters profile in all the three treatment groups was found to be lower than the control group.


We conclude that a properly structured and site specific data like this pin points to the magnitude and pattern of head and neck cancer problem in India and it can augment the National Cancer Registry Program.