With 1,750 new cases in Belgium every year and a 50% death rate when detected late, oral cancer remains one of the most dangerous types of cancer, according to the non-profit Chambres Syndicales Dentaires (Professional Dental Associations) at a press conference on Wednesday, on the side-lines of the European dental health day on September 12th. This type of cancer, which is the main topic of the upcoming European day, is the 10th most frequent in the European Union.
Although most oral cancers are linked to excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco, we have seen “a sharp increase in the numbers of cancers resulting from viral infections” (human papillomavirus and oral sex) as well as a growing occurrence of this type of cancer in youths in the last 10 years.
Professional Dental Associations are launching a new campaign to raise awareness of this cancer which Belgians do not know much about, and insist on the need to submit to a preventive oral examination at least once a year. “A simple check-up is a great way to detect nascent cancers” and leads to better survival rates.
The illness can also be detected through the presence of rashes, ulcers on the lips, tongue or cheek, or swelling. “If the problem lasts for more than a fortnight you must see a dentist.” Posters and leaflets will be handed out in particular.