BANGALORE: All over the world, April 16 is observed as World Voice Day. In India, cancer is the disease that is single-handedly depriving people off their vocal chords. To give voice to this problem, this year the theme 'Your Voice Counts' will serve as a reminder to all the youngsters including adults to say no to tobacco.
India has been witnessing an alarming increasing in the number of cancer cases with about 10,000 lakh patients. About 50 per cent of them are related to tobacco consumption. Almost every type of cancer adversely affects human voice in some way or the other, but the worst hit are the patients suffering from throat cancer. No doubt, voice forms an integral part of human life. However, most of us ignore to take care of our voice and indulge our in habits like smoking which take over our entire life.
There are innumerable patients who have lost their voice box to throat cancer. The surgeries performed to treat the cancer require the removal of voice box. Sixty three-year-old Durgaiah who is also a farmer by occupation suffers from throat cancer. He used to earn `100 per day and the only earning member in his family. He used to smoke cigarette and beedi, and eventually succumbed to throat cancer which left him speechless. He underwent surgical removal of his voice box and presently speaks using his food pipe through a prosthesis. The treatment for cancer cost me `2 lakh, despite the surgery and hospital stay being free of cost.
A similar incident revolves around Mohan Raj, an air force pilot by profession. He was a frequent victim of passive smoking which is also a high risk factor for developing cancer. His treatment cost him `5 lakh while he earns a meagre `15000 pension per month.
Dr U S Vishal Rao, Consultant Oncologist, Head and Neck Surgeon, Fortis Hospital pointed out to City Express, "There are innumerable professions where voice plays a vital role. About 90 to 95 per cent of throat cancer is related to tobacco consumption. As a result, the voice box is removed through surgeries and an artificial voice box is planted. Whenever the patients want to speak they have to close the hole in their neck with their finger tip so that the food pipe vibrates and the sound is produced."
"World Voice Day is an opportunity to create awareness on the voice related problems. Now-a-days youngsters develop habits like smoking assuming it to be cool or out of peer pressure. This Day serves as a reminder for all to adopt a healthy life style if they want to preserve their voice, " he added. Tobacco around 6000 chemicals making it unsafe for human consumption. According to WHO, it contains more than 70 carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzopyrene, nitrosamines and metals such as arsenic nickel cadmium , chromium and several others. When inhaled or chewed they coat the area of the voice box thus causing cancer.
Your voice is precious -- quit tobacco and help someone else quit it too.