Written Question: EU action on oral cancer

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted: 23 March 2021

Question for written answer E-001558/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Deirdre Clune (PPE)

Subject: EU action on oral cancer

Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are the seventh most common cancer in Europe and the 11th leading cause of mortality from cancer(1). Nearly half of oral cancer sufferers will die within five years(2). In many Member States, oral cancer rates are still increasing, while mortality rates have not fallen in decades due to delayed diagnosis of the disease. The economic impact on EU economies of oral cancer is huge, as treatment is costly and around half of patients diagnosed with oral cancer never return to work.

Oral health professionals play a key role in the early detection of oral cancer through routine dental examinations. Access to dental care therefore plays an important part in improving the situation. However, the current crisis has put further pressure on front line dental professionals. The closure or curtailment of the provision of dental services is likely to have led to more people with undiagnosed mouth cancer(3)(4).

  1. How does the Commission intend to include oral health and oral health professionals in an integrated, holistic strategy to address cancer, in other words the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan?
  2. What other public health and healthcare measures is the Commission considering to address the increased risks of oral cancer in the EU?

(1) Around 100 000 people are diagnosed with oral cancers every year in Europe.
(2) https://ecis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/explorer.php?$0-2$1-AEE$2-All$4-1,2$3-4$6-0,14$5-2000,2007$7-1$CRelativeSurvivalAgeGroup$X0_14-$X0_15-RSC$CRelativeSurvivalFollow$X1_14-$X1_-1-$X1_15-RSC
(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32306459/
(4) https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/mouth-cancers-going-undiagnosed-during-covid-19-crisis-dentists-warn-1.4299340 and https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40077518.html

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