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OSF, Oral Submucous Fibrosis, betel, areca nut
Oral Submucous Fibrosis is a chronic, debilitating and pre-malignant disease; it is also one that is not taught in any significant detail in most medical curricula. The clearest association is with the practice of chewing betel quid containing areca nut, a habit very common amongst South Indian populations. With current migration trends and the establishment of large South Asian communities in the Western world, the disease is being seen with increasing frequency where it was previously seldom encountered. With this background in mind, we aim to present a concise overview of the disease and its prognosis so as to create awareness about an issue of emerging public health relevance. Further, since the etiology is mostly linked to a habit, health care professionals have a very important role to play in terms of lifestyle modification advice, which may significantly decrease disease incidence, progression and morbidity, if not mortality.