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The Council of European Dentists (CED) and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) are pleased to celebrate 12 September, the European Oral Health Day

On the occasion of the European Oral Health Day, the two organisations would like to raise awareness about oral cancer and stress the importance of early detection and prevention of the disease. Oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lip, tongue and oral cavity remains a highly lethal and very aggressive disease and is one of the most disfiguring of all cancers, especially in cases of late diagnosis. Globally, it is the 8th most common cancer and the10th most common in Europe with around 75,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the EU. Incidence is still higher in men than in women and in older than in younger persons although in some European countries incidence is increasing rapidly among women and young people. However, awareness and knowledge of the disease among the public remain poor.

Early detection and prevention of oral cancer are crucial. If oral cancer is detected early, the chances of survival increase from 50 up to 90%. Dentists and doctors play an important role in early detection. Performing screening tests for oral cancer consisting of a visual oral examination and palpation of the neck is important and patients presenting with lesions in the mouth which do not heal in 2 weeks should be examined as soon as possible. Strengthening communication between dentists and doctors would be useful to this end and might include referring patients with suspicious lesions to a dentist. Finally, training on oral cancer is essential and should be included in both dental and medical undergraduate  and continuous professional development curricula.

Oral cancer is a disease that can be prevented and its incidence reduced. This can be done through education, dialogue among healthcare professionals, increasing public awareness and improving the health systems. Dentists and doctors can actively contribute to health promotion, initiate discussions on tobacco cessation, reduced alcohol consumption and provide healthy lifestyle counselling to reduce the burden of oral cancer.


Notes to editors:

For further information on oral cancer, please see the report from the “Oral cancer – Dentists savings lives” event which was organised by the CED, MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) and European Cancer Leagues (ECL) in the European Parliament on 23 June 2015.

The Council of European Dentists is a European not-for-profit association which represents over 340,000 practising dentists through 32 national dental associations and chambers from 30 European countries. Its key objectives are to promote high standards of oral healthcare and effective patient-safety centred professional practice across Europe, including through regular contacts with other European organisations and EU institutions.

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) represents national medical associations across Europe. We are committed to contributing the medical profession’s point of view to EU and European policy-making through pro-active cooperation on a wide range of health and healthcare related issues.


For more information contact:
CED Brussels Office
Tel: + 32 2 736 34 29

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