Risk Factor Analysis for Oral Precancer among Slum Dwellers in Delhi, India

Author(s): Goel A, Goel P, Mishra S, Saha R, Torwane NA

Background: An outfall of urbanization in developing countries has been the mushrooming of slums where dwellers live in pitiable environmental conditions representing the lowest rung of social strata. This group is more vulnerable to practicing deleterious social habits, including tobacco and alcohol abuse. Aim: The present study was undertaken to understand the strength of association between risk factors suspected of causing oral precancer among slum dwellers in Delhi. Subjects and Methods: A house‑to‑house survey was conducted in an urban slum cluster situated in the heart of Delhi city by a single trained investigator who recorded oral mucosal lesions according to WHO criteria. Demographic details and history of suspected risk factors was recorded by personal interview of each subject. The obtained data was coded, cleaned, and analyzed manually. Chi‑square test was applied and Odds’ ratios were calculated to analyze the association of risk factors with oral precancer. A statistically significant difference was set at 95% confidence interval. Results: A total of 479 subjects of both sexes were examined and 31 cases clinically diagnosed as having oral precancer, of which majority were leukoplakia. All cases except one reported practicing habits that are known risk factors for oral precancer, i.e., smoking/smokeless tobacco, chewing betel leaf/nut, and combination of these habits with alcohol. Association of oral precancer with smokeless tobacco was higher than that with smoking or chewing betel leaf/nut alone. Conclusion: Practicing combination of habits with alcohol was found to be the most strongly associated risk factor for oral precancer.


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