India reported 72,616 deaths from oral cancer in the Indian population and an incidence of 1,99,992 cases in 2018. Such a huge burden is catastrophic to both the society as well as the health system. Thankfully, the Government of India has a comprehensive plan of National Program on Prevention of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) to promote screening for emerging NCDs including oral cancer.
Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) are running Population Based Cancer Registry (PBCR), in partnership with Chandigarh Administration and Govt of Punjab since 2013.
As per the statistics of PBCR, Chandigarh and Mohali have reported 5.2-5.5% of males and 0.6-1.6% of females are suffering from oral cancer among all cancer cases. Most of the cases are attributed to tobacco use, a modifiable risk factor of oral cancer. The registry has helped in knowing the pattern, trends as well as prevention and control measures for cancer in different regions of India.
The national dissemination meeting and workshop was conducted in Guest House, UT Chandigarh today to discuss global, regional and national initiatives and strategies towards oral cancer prevention and role of health workers in oral cancer screening.
The meeting included sessions on key initiatives on oral cancer prevention and control under National Oral Health Program as well asKey initiatives of Oral Cancer in Chandigarh and Punjab and Study Findings of Feasibility of Training Community Health Workers in the Detection of Oral Cancer. Dr. Andre Carvalho, Scientist, Early Detection Prevention, and Infections, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon shared Global-IARC perspective on oral cancer screening and prevention.
Dr. Suman Singh, DHS, UT Chandigarh; Prof. Rakesh Sehgal, Dean (Academics), PGIMER, Chandigarh; Dr. L. Swasticharan, Additional Deputy Director General, Directorate of Health Services, Government of India; Prof. Jasbinder Kaur, Director Principal, Government Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh graced the inauguration session.
There was a panel discussion on Roadmap for strengthening Oral Cancer screening. Dr. Swasticharan, Dr Sudarshan Mandal, Deputy Director General, Directorate of Health Services, Government of India; Prof. Ashima Goel, HOD, Oral Health Sciences, PGIMER, Chandigarh; Prof. Paramjit Gill, Head of Division of Health Sciences, Professor of General Practice, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick UK; Dr. Ashoo Grover, Scientist ‘F’, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi and Dr Rakesh Kapoor, Prof and Head of Radiotherapy, Unit 2, PGIMER, Chandigarh were the key panelists.
The meeting contributed to strengthening population-based screening of oral cancer under NPCDCS.
In collaboration with World NCD Federation with University of Warwick (United Kingdom), under the Indo-UK partnership, a video film “Oral Cancer Screening by Health Workers” has been prepared as an outcome of a research project on feasibility of oral cancer screening in India.The film was released during the national dissemination meeting. The film is available in English and Hindi languages, for widespread acceptance and use.
The meeting was organised by Prof. JS Thakur, Professor of Community Medicine & Coordinator, Family Medicine Program, PGIMER, Chandigarh & President, World NCD Federation and his team.