BENGALURU: IN an attempt to tackle oral cancer, a task force has been launched to develop a strategy for oral cancer control in India over the next decade. While the World Cancer Day will be observed on Sunday, the task force was launched in the city on Saturday. The mission of the task force will be to ideate, educate and engage stake-holders, thereby effectively down-staging oral cancer in India. The expected outcome would be to develop a national, cost-effective, patient-centric and sustainable oral cancer control programme.
According to representatives of the task force, the Oral Cancer Task Force will create a master plan leveraging technology and partnerships, develop a framework for operational control and impact measurement, establish relevant benchmarks and reference points through research, synchronize oral cancer control efforts with the broader national cancer control programme, enhance and update skills of health-care professionals, establish an environment that reduces the risk factors (tobacco, alcohol, areca nut, HPV) through policy change and public awareness, strengthen the National Cancer Registry and surveillance systems and map tertiary centres and provide linkages to care.
The force says oral cancer, which is the most common cancer in India amongst men (11.3 per cent of all cancers), and the third most frequently occurring cancer in India amongst both men and women, has seen high incidence of mortality and morbidity that is preventable. Most often, oral cancer is preceded by visually detectable, oral potentially malignant disorders, which present a unique opportunity for the early detection of lesions. Hence it is vital to strengthen the strategies to down-stage oral cancer.
Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder and Managing Trustee, Biocon Foundation and Convenor of the Oral Cancer Task Force said, “Treatment of oral cancer is a multidisciplinary approach, involving the efforts of dental practitioners, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and researchers.”
Emphasising the need for the task force, Dr G K Rath, Head, National Cancer Institute, AIIMS said, “Mortality and morbidity of oral cancer is high in view of presentation at an advanced stage but this is a preventable disease. The National Cancer Institute India has been created for this purpose as a centre of national importance which will conduct research into all aspects including prevention, early diagnosis and management. This is the largest single healthcare project of India.”