Prevalence of oral premalignant lesions and its risk factors among the adult population in Udupi taluk of coastal Karnataka, India

Vandita Pahwa, Suma Nair, Ranjitha S. Shetty, Asha Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Globally oral cancer is one of the ten most common cancers with prevalence being high in Central and South East Asian countries. This survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of oral pre-malignant lesions (OPML) and to identify their risk factors. Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was carried out among 2033 individuals aged ≥18 years. A questionnaire was administered to collect socio-demographic characteristics, various risk factors for oral cancer and presence of its symptoms. Oral cavity of all the participants was examined in detail by the study investigator as per WHO guidelines for the early diagnosis of oral neoplasia. Result: The prevalence of OPML was found to be 3.73%. Among those with OPML, all were ever tobacco consumers and had poor oral hygiene. A significant association was observed between OPML and younger age group (OR=2.56, 95% CI 1.08-6.02), males (OR=26.76, 95% CI 8.40-85.19) and low socio-economic status (OR = 1.91, 95% CI 1.20-3.02). Tobacco (p < 0.001), alcohol (OR= 7.92, 95% CI 4.77-13.14) and areca nut consumption (OR = 5.48, 95% CI 3.42-8.77) were strongly associated with OPML. On multivariate analysis among ever tobacco users, OPML was associated with younger individuals, males and those using smokeless forms of tobacco (p < 0.05). The study showed that the participants with OPML were more likely to be never married (OR=1.6, 95% CI 0.92-2.96),to be unskilled workers (OR= 1.45, 95% CI 0.61-3.43), to have suffered from oral trauma (OR =1.30, 95% CI 0.75-2.26), to have consumed hot and spicy food frequently (OR=1.53, 95% CI 0.96-2.24), to have consumed fruits infrequently (OR=1.53, 95% CI 0.90-2.59) and to report family history of any cancer (OR = 1.29, 95% CI 0.58-2.87) . However, these associations were statistically insignificant. Conclusion: The study reinforces that use of substances such as tobacco, alcohol and areca nut are the modifiable risk factors for OPML.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2165-2170
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01-08-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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