CED: Oral Health and Cancer
Cancer is one of the main priorities of the European Commission mandate for the years 2019-2024 on the health domain and one of the European research and innovation missions and part of the Horizon Europe framework beginning in 2021. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines also underlined that cancer will remain an important topic for the European Commission and its importance was also highlighted in the mission letter to the Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, tongue and oral cavity. There are more than 10 million new cases and more than 6 million deaths each year worldwide and it is projected that by 2020 there will be every year 15 million new cancer cases and 10 million cancer deaths. In Europe, oral cancer is the 10th most common cancer, with around 75,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the EU. As dentists we know that regular check-ups of our patients are an important chance for us to examine the mouth for signs of oral cancer. In fact, with oral cancer being one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality today, we face important obligations, challenges and opportunities to save lives.
CED believes that an EU policy on oral cancer is needed. Further, education at undergraduate level for both dentists and general practitioners is necessary. On a national level, national health policies should be developed for oral cancer prevention strategies, through integration with wider health literacy and messages in interdisciplinary education programmes. As the disease remains highly lethal and very aggressive and one of the most debilitating and disfiguring of all malignancies, with 50% of those diagnosed not surviving 5 years, the topic needs to get the necessary attention. CED will continue promoting the topic of oral health and cancer on the European level.
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