New thinking to combat oral cancer
International speakers, expert panellists, and delegates selected from around the world are to share the issues they face in the fight against the disease
Words: Niall McGoldrick
Oral cancer continues to claim lives throughout the world without much progress been made in tackling the disease. In the UK, incidence has increased by 86 per cent since the 1970s. Globally, there are around 300,000 new cases each year. Prognosis remains poor. Surgery continues to be the mainstay of treatment with around 50 per cent of patients living to five years post diagnosis. Furthermore, nine out of 10 of these cancers can be attributed to a modifiable risk factor.
The problem is clear to those working in the area and to most dental professionals, but if we are to make a real difference to the figures above then some new thinking is required. We need the attention of world governments, research bodies, and healthcare providers to shine a light on the issues at hand and give oral cancer research and preventive policy a space at the funding table.
The Global Oral Cancer Forum hopes to begin that journey. We are bringing together an interdisciplinary delegation from around the world that will include dentists and doctors from many specialities, public health practitioners, NGOs, charities, data scientists, survivors and patients to establish new frontiers in the fight against oral cancer.
The inaugural Global Oral Cancer Forum took place in New York City in 2016. Some 250 people from around the world took part and contributed to the meeting. This was the first step in building partnerships and networks capable of making a real change across the oral cancer continuum and improve approaches to prevention, detection and treatment. It was clear from the forum that there was an appetite to continue momentum. A series of white papers with outputs from each of the sessions were published and are available to view here: www.globaloralcancerforum.org/white-papers
The next step is to bring together an even wider, more diverse group at the Global Oral Cancer Forum 2020 (GOCF’20) taking place in Edinburgh on 6 and 7 March next year.
The new theme for GOCF’20 is “reducing risk, prevention, early diagnosis and innovative treatments.”
We will highlight risk reduction across the entire oral cancer continuum from prevention to initial diagnosis and treatment. International speakers, expert panellists and delegates selected from various world regions will convene to share the issues they face in the fight against oral cancer.
The Global Café session on day one aims to harvest and harness ideas from the international assembly focused on building awareness of gaps in prevention, patient care, technology and services. This session will be key to developing a strong global network and form a new social leadership within the oral cancer action community. By building these partnerships, the forum will promote the changes required for a substantial impact on incidence, morbidity and mortality of oral cancer worldwide.
GOCF’20 will also act as a spring board for early career researchers to get involved and mix with some of the old power that have contributed to the oral cancer work stream, bridging the gap between old and new. The agenda is available to view on our website www.gocf20.com
We want to extend an open invitation to any non-profit organisation that supports the GOCF’20 mission, to come onboard as an intellectual sponsor of the forum without financial commitment. Be part of the change and join the conversation on 6-7 March 2020 in Edinburgh.
Dr Niall McGoldrick is a member of the GOFC organising committee and convenor of Let’s Talk About Mouth Cancer www.ltamc.org