Cuba’s system of mouth cancer prevention starting at the primary levels of health care has enabled the country to be one of those with the highest rate of curability of this disease, ScD Julio Cesar Santana Garay said in Havana.
In an exclusive interview to ACN, Santana Garay, who is Honorary President of the Latin American Cancer Prevention Center, said Cuba has implemented a community-based national program for the detection of oral cancer since 1982.
Acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Cuban program
is the only one of its type in the world. Since it was first implemented, mortality rates for lip, gum, floor of the mouth and tongue cancers have dropped by more than 10 percent, said the doctor.
Santana Garay warned that adults should make an oral self exam once a week and see a doctor in cases of any abnormal signs.
He said smokers, people who frequently drink alcohol, and those who do not maintain oral hygiene are more likely to develop mouth cancer.
In Cuba, this type of cancer is the sixth most common malignancy, while in the world it is also among the top ten, according to the expert.
On the occasion of the World Cancer Day, marked on February 4, the doctor issued a call to raise awareness on the promotion of healthy habits to avoid mouth cancer which kills nearly eight million people every year, while around 13 million new cases are detected yearly worldwide.