Oral Health & Cancer

Assessing the oral cancer risk behaviours of Indian immigrants in Australia

Oral cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer’s worldwide affecting over 200,000 people annually. In India, oral cancer has become a pandemic while in Australia approximately 2,500 new cases are registered each year, representing a significant disease burden to the population.
In recent decades, oral cancer is showing a disturbing rise with increasing immigration from south Asian countries like India. In Australia, Indians are one of the fastest growing communities, forming around 2.8% of the total population (4,68,800). Social and cultural habits like tobacco and areca nut chewing are predisposing factors to oral cancer and remains prevalent among Indians following migration, and as a result, Australia is likely to see a considerable increase of this disease in future.
Increasing oral cancer rates in Australia over the past few years coupled with easy access to tobacco and areca products and difficulties in accessing public dental services, suggests that a comprehensive approach to oral cancer assessment and prevention is imperative among Indian migrants. Hence, exploring the oral cancer risk behaviors of Indian communities in Australia is important to develop culturally relevant, preventive and educational interventions. It is hoped that the findings from this study will help develop risk profiles of Indian migrants in Australia, which will be useful for medical, nursing and dental professionals in delivering early risk assessment strategies to this population and eventually decrease the rate of oral cancer in Australia.