Independent Oral Cancer Task Force launched

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The mission of the task force will be to ideate, educate and engage stakeholders, thereby effectively down-staging oral cancer in India

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, an Independent Oral Cancer Task Force has been launched to develop a strategy for oral cancer control in India over the next decade. This multi-disciplinary task force comprises leading specialists who will contribute their expertise to address the burden of oral cancer. The mission of the task force will be to ideate, educate and engage stakeholders, 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 program.

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 primary and secondary research, synchronise oral cancer control efforts with the broader national cancer control programme, enhance and update skills of healthcare 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 map tertiary centres and provide linkages to care.

The independent Oral Cancer Task Force includes recognised experts in their respective fields.

  • Dr Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder and Managing Trustee, Biocon Foundation
  • Dr GK Rath, Chief, Dr BR Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, Professor of Radiation Oncology & Head, National Cancer Institute, AIIMS, Delhi
  • Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Head & Neck Cancer Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
  • Dr Kumar Prabhash, Professor, Medical Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
  • Dr Vijay Chandru, Chairman, Strand Life Sciences, Bengaluru
  • Dr Moni Abraham Kuriakose, Director, Cochin Cancer Research Centre
  • Dr Praveen Birur N, Professor & Head of Oral Medicine and Radiology, KLES Institute of Dental Sciences, Bengaluru, Lead – Oral Cancer Program, Biocon Foundation

Speaking on the occasion, 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. The task force that we have established reflects this multidisciplinary requirement. We have therefore come together as a group of independent professionals to constitute a task force to ideate, educate and engage stakeholders, in order to effectively down-stage oral cancer in the next decade.”

Emphasising the need for the Task Force, Dr GK Rath, Head, National Cancer Institute, AIIMS said, “Mortality and morbidity of oral cancer is very high in view of presentation at an advanced stage but this is largely a preventable disease. 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.”

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Head & Neck Cancer Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai said, “Oral cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death among Indian men. It is not only an unnecessary human loss but also a huge loss of productivity for India. It is time to wipe out the stigma of India being the oral cancer capital of the world.”

“Oral cancer is primarily related to the use of tobacco which is very common in India. The best way to prevent oral cancer is to stop tobacco use completely. Through this task force, we aim to create awareness and work on ways to prevent and enable early detection of cancer.” said Dr Kumar Prabhash, Medical Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital.

The Guest of Honour, Dr KB Linge Gowda, Director, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, commended the efforts of the task force to down-stage oral cancer in India.