A warning has been issued that oral cancer could be present among schoolchildren and youth aged below 20 due to an addiction to packeted-betel chewing.
A symptom is that they have their mouths and lines of the lips turned whitish, said oral and maxillofacial surgeon A.H.T.S. Karunatilleke.
Speaking to the media, he urged parents to intervene and get their children to abandon this habit.
The National Dental Hospital treats between five and 20 oral cancer patients each day, he said, adding that early diagnosis could help easy treatment.
Dr. Karunatilleke added that 49 per cent of the population chew betel with tobacco, which leads to oral cancer.