A Mumbai-based survey has revealed that 38% of auto drivers have pre-oral cancer lesions due to tobacco consumption.
The survey was conducted by the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA), an NGO, on 3000 auto drivers in Mumbai over the last five months in Santa Cruz, Borivli, Goregaon and Malad areas.
Pre-cancerous lesions are abnormal growth of tissues in oral cavity. If these lesions are not treated, they could progress to cancer over a period of time.
Anita Peter from CPAA said that pre-cancerous conditions, such as plakia and submucous fibrosis were found in 45% out of 85% tobacco using auto drivers screened in various camps organized by the NGO.
Ms Peter added that such camps was needed for auto drivers to be screened as there was great tobacco dependence among them. She told the media that tobacco users who have been found with pre-cancerous conditions will be referred to the Tata hospital for further treatment.
The cause of the pre-cancerous condition among auto drivers is their dependency on tobacco consumption, exposure to air pollution, occupational stress and nature of work that keeps them away from family.
A union head of auto taxi drivers said that circumstances such as living away from the family for long hours, stress and exposure to air pollution compell them to get into tobacco habits. He added that though auto drivers know that consumption of tobacco is dangerous to health, quitting tobacco becomes difficult for them.