NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Many of the world's foremost experts on oral cancer will gather together to explore ways to reduce the disease's global impact at the Global Oral Cancer Forum, a first-of-its-kind event scheduled for March 4-5 at New York University's Kimmel Center.
The Forum comes at a time when nearly 500,000 people worldwide are diagnosed annually with oral and oropharyngeal cancer, according to data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer's Globocan 2000 database and the World Health Organization's Mortality Database. Of that number, one-third to one-half lose their lives annually, many more suffer from the complications of treatment, and—despite the easy accessibility to these body sites by health care providers and the overall impact early detection could have on a person's overall health—more than two-thirds are diagnosed in advanced stages where the cancer has already spread to regional lymph nodes or beyond.
"Rarely have so many oral cancer stakeholders from around the globe been in the same room together, exchanging ideas and learning from one another in pursuit of a unifying goal: a world in which oral cancer is detected earlier and affects fewer lives," said Dr. A. Ross Kerr, Chair of the Forum's Organizing Committee. "Achieving this goal requires new partnerships, fresh perspectives, and a shared vision for increasing awareness and enhancing early detection and prevention, and the Global Oral Cancer Forum is the ideal place to start."
Dr. Michael C. Alfano, Executive Vice President Emeritus of New York University (NYU) and a leading voice in oral cancer education, will serve as the keynote speaker of the Forum, which will convene clinicians, scientists, epidemiologists, activists, public health experts, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other stakeholders who are working to understand how to reduce the global oral cancer burden. Paired delegates from eight regions of the world will provide short presentations summarizing the oral cancer situation in their respective regions. The Forum will also include panel discussions examining gaps and innovations in various domains across the oral cancer continuum, with a particular emphasis on early detection.
The Forum is underwritten by an educational grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) organization founded by Henry Schein, Inc.
"The Global Oral Cancer Forum will lay the groundwork for a concentrated effort to fight oral cancer on a global scale by facilitating the exchange of ideas and research between some of the finest minds in the medical and oral health communities, and the public and private sectors," said Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc. "Raising awareness and enhancing early detection and prevention efforts are keys to reducing the incidence and impact of oral cancer, a disease that serves as a stark reminder of the vital importance of good oral health to a person's overall health. This Forum exemplifies Henry Schein's commitment to wellness and prevention in this regard. Henry Schein is proud to stand with our partners in this endeavor as we work to 'help health happen' together."
In addition to the scheduled presentations and panel discussions, the Forum will also feature "Faces of Oral Cancer," a photo exhibit by braschler/fischer that contains images of oral cancer survivors and demonstrates the disease's devastating impact. A white paper will be generated from the Forum to outline a plan of action to enhance research, public awareness, and early detection and prevention.
"NYU and Henry Schein have been working together for many years to increase oral cancer awareness and enhance diagnosis, and it is particularly fulfilling to see such a large assemblage of talented individuals from around the world come together in like cause," Dr. Alfano said. "The diverse mix of attendees with research, public health and communication skills among many others, sets up the potential to create a 'virtuous cycle' whereby the public becomes more informed about oral cancer which in turn will lead to more research support to improve our understanding, treatment and diagnosis of this deadly disease."
The Forum's Organizing Committee is chaired by Dr. Kerr, Clinical Professor, New York University College of Dentistry, and also includes Dr. Saman Warnakulasuriya, Professor Emeritus, King's College London; J. Silvio Gutkind, Professor, University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center; Dr. Miriam Rosen, Director, British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program, BC Cancer Agency; Dr. Jatin Shah, Chief, Head and Neck Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Steve Kess, President, Henry Schein Cares Foundation; and Shannon Nanne, Executive Director, Global Oral Cancer Forum.
In addition to the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, the Forum is supported by the following intellectual partners: the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, the American Dental Hygienists Association, the BC Cancer Agency, the International Academy of Oral Oncology, the International Association of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies, International Society of Oral Oncology, King's College London, the New York University College of Dentistry, the NYU Oral Cancer Center, the Oral Cancer Foundation, the World Workshop on Oral Medicine VI, the European Association of Oral Medicine, the Academy of General Dentistry Foundation, the American Dental Association, the International Federation of Dental Hygienists, the International Association of Dental Research, Oral Health America, Support for People With Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, the American Cancer Society, Let's Talk About Mouth Cancer, the British Dental Health Foundation, FDI World Dental Federation, the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, the American Head and Neck Society, The Ben Walton Trust, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Oral Medicine Academy of Australasia, Sociedade Brasileira de Estomatologia, and the Canadian Dental Association.
For more information on the Global Oral Cancer Forum, including a schedule of featured speakers and presentations, please visit www.globaloralcancerforum.org.