Bengaluru: On the eve of the World Cancer Day on Saturday, an Independent Oral Cancer Task Force was launched in the city to develop a strategy for oral cancer control in the country. Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder & Managing Trustee, Biocon Foundation, will be one of many stalwarts who will head the task force. At the launch, Dr Mazumdar-Shaw, convener of the Task Force, said, “We have come together as a group of independent professionals to constitute a task force to ideate, educate and engage stakeholders to effectively down-stage oral cancer in the next decade. The task force reflects the multidisciplinary approach involving dental practitioners, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and researchers.”
Dr G.K. Rath, Head, National Cancer Institute, AIIMS, said, “Mortality and morbidity in oral cancer is very high at an advanced stage. The National Cancer Institute India has been created for this purpose, to conduct research into all aspects, including prevention, early diagnosis and management. This is the largest single healthcare project of India.”
The 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 primary and secondary research and synchronise oral cancer control efforts with the broader national cancer control programme.
The expert group aims to update skills of healthcare professionals, establish an environment that reduces the risk factors of tobacco, alcohol, areca nut and HPV through policy change and public awareness.
Strengthening the National Cancer Registry, surveillance systems and mapping of tertiary centres to provide linkages to care is also part of their agenda.
Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India among men (11.3% of all cancers) and the third most frequent in India amongst both men and women, causing high incidence of mortality and morbidity.
“Preventable in nature, most often, oral cancer is preceded by visually detectable, oral potentially malignant disorders, which present a unique opportunity for the early detection of lesions," the statement read.