News and Update
Stop Using Tobacco Products, Betel Nut
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03 December 2010
By Priyanka Golikeri
"Tambaku, supari, masheri bandh kara (Stop chewing tobacco, betel nut, tobacco toothpaste)," plead Jijabai and Dagadu Suryawanshi.
The couple from Parbhani in Marathwada is on a mission to convince every tobacco user they come across to give up beedi, betel nut, snuff, tobacco toothpaste, etc.
"Tobacco ruins you not just financially and health–wise, but creates emotional turmoil. We are poor and don’t have money to spread awareness, but we will talk about our experience and hope users will give it up for good," says Dagadu, who gave up chewing tobacco sometime ago, and is helping Jijabai recover from the surgery last month, done to remove the tumour from the buccal cavity and lymph nodes from her neck.
Dagadu says they had to sell their house in Parbhani to collect money for coming to Mumbai to treat Jibabai, 50, as in Parbhani treatment options are limited. He says that Jijabai could not speak properly or chew and swallow food.
"There were some ulcers in her mouth and running to doctors in Parbhani did not help much."
Dagadu says tobacco consumption in different forms is widely prevalent in their village as people have been indulging in it since ages, with no awareness about its ill–effects.
"Since everyone does it, it’s more a part of lifestyle. It is used during leisure hours, to stay awake, to brush teeth. From 13–14–year–olds to senior citizens, almost every second person is addicted to tobacco."
Jijabai, communicating through her husband, says that now they are also aware about oral hygiene — a concept which is nearly unheard of in the interiors. "We will tell villagers to use toothpaste or tooth powder."
Dr Sunita Dubey, director, Aryan Hospital in Kurla where Jijabai underwent the surgery, says that because Jijabai came in the early stage, her recovery will be quick. "It is beneficial that they will spread the word about oral hygiene."
"Oral cancer, symptoms of which include mouth ulcers, growth on tongue, difficulty to open mouth, chew and swallow, is growing rapidly in the city," says Dr Dhairyasheel Savant, member of Asian Institute of Oncology.
"I see almost two oral cancer patients daily. It’s basically people from lower socio–economic strata," says Dr Shishir Shetty, director and head of oncology at Fortis and Cancure hospital, Navi Mumbai.