Stress, Oral diseases and Integrative approach with Ayurveda
Integrative approach for Oral Precancerous Lesions
I was having a conversation with some dentists working in an organization which has lots of healthcare related outreach programs. One of the programs is early detection of cancer or precancerous conditions in rural areas where quid consumption habit is very rampant. precancerous conditions are the lesions that have potential to become cancer. After an early diagnosis, the patients are given standard treatment procedures, but without much success. Their argument was: “what was the benefit of diagnosing the condition early, if the treatment if not effective?” Most of the scientific evidence also points to the fact that treatments for precancerous lesions are not always effective.
The conversion from precancerous to cancer is an unpredictable phenomenon and once the patient knows that he has a precancerous condition in the mouth, he is under constant fear, stress and anxiety about when will it get converted to cancer. This feeling of insecurity and helplessness is more killing than the condition itself.
Most of the time Precancerous oral lesions occur because of habits like smoking, tobacco chewing, gutka consumption etc. Sometimes they also occur due to autoimmune conditions, stress and other lifestyle related conditions. Some of these conditions are Leucoplakia, Oral submucous fibrosis and Oral lichen planus.
In India 10-12% people suffer from oral precancerous conditions. Almost 5 to 7% of these conditions convert themselves into cancer. Oral cancer is one of the top three cancers the Indian population suffer from.
The precancerous conditions do not always resolve, even after the patients quit the habit. Even if they do not convert into cancer, they are a huge morbidity problem in which there is progression in restricted mouth opening in Oral submucous fibrosis and continuous burning and pain in mouth in lichen planus and so on. Inability to eat the food, negatively affect quality of life of the patients.
Can Integration with Ayurveda help?
We may not get exact matching disease name in Ayurveda for various oral lesions but they are explained in detail depending on signs and symptoms that can be roughly correlated with Allopathy nomenclatures. These are Mukhapaka, Mukha arbuda, Sannipataja oshta vyadhi, Vrna, Gandalaji, Dantaveshtaka, Jihva kantaka, Talupaka and many more…
All these diseases have treatment protocols described in Chikitsa sutra in Ayurveda texts. These are again directed towards Dosha imbalance and its restoration.
My own clinical experience says that Ayurveda treatments are very effective. There is scientific evidence for it too. But we need more clinical and research-based data to conclusively talk about efficacy of integrative treatments for precancerous lesions.
If integrative approach can be applied in this matter by combining advanced diagnostic technics to detect cancer/precancerous conditions with combination of Allopathy and Ayurveda treatment protocols, it may be possible to get better results for reversing the premalignant conditions and also prevent its conversion to cancer.
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