Globally, India accounts for the highest number of oral cancer cases. The survival rates are about 30% lower than those in developing countries. The main reason for these dismal figures is the late presentation of patients. In order to downstage oral cancer in such a scenario, screening and diagnosis at an early stage is warranted. A pragmatic approach is needed for an oral cancer screening program, hence a mobile health (mHealth) approach was used. In this approach, health workers were empowered with mobile phones with decision-based algorithm. Risk stratification of tobacco habit enables us to identify lesions associated with particular habits.
Materials and methods
A specific cohort of factory employees who predominantly had pure tobacco chewing habit was chosen to examine the effect of pure tobacco on oral mucosa. One thousand three hundred and fifty-seven subjects were screened in two phases. In the first phase, habits and oral lesions were identified and photographed. The photographs were remotely diagnosed by an oral medicine specialist and those subjects requiring biopsy were recalled for phase II. Cytology and biopsy were performed in phase II.
The predominant habit was smokeless tobacco (SLT), in 582 subjects. The most commonly encountered lesion was tobacco pouch keratosis seen in 397 subjects. Biopsy was performed for 71 subjects, most cases showed hyperkeratosis and mild dysplasia. One subject had moderate dysplasia.
There was minimal alteration of tissues in our study subjects, which can be considered as low-risk. Use of mHealth empowered frontline healthcare workers to identify subjects with lesions and enabled remote diagnosis by specialist in resource-constrained settings.
Use of mHealth enabled us have an electronic record of subject details. This data shall be used for a planned follow-up of the same cohort after 3 years.
How to cite this article
Desai R, Birur P, Bajaj S, Shubhasini AR, Bhanushree R, Shubha G, Keerthi G, Tiwari V, Patrick S, Hegde U, Shetty S, Nagabhushan V, Kankanala S, Shah S. Smokeless Tobacco-associated Lesions: A Mobile Health Approach. J Contemp Dent Pract 2015;16(10):813-818.