Oral Cancer Awareness Gains Momentum After Global Forum

Richard Gawel


Stakeholders from more than 30 countries gathered at New York University’s Kimmel Center to participate in the inaugural Global Oral Cancer Forum last month. Experts shared research and collaborated on ideas for beating oral cancer, which sees 500,000 new diagnoses around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization.

“Based on the feedback that we’ve received, and the survey that we did, it was a significant event in bringing the global community together,” said Steve Kess, president of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, one of the sponsors of the event.

“The number of emails I’ve been getting from academics, is remarkable,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein.

More than 230 clinicians, scientists, epidemiologists, activists, public health experts, and representatives from nonprofit organizations and government agencies took part in panels, paper presentations, and discussions. Attendees represented some of the healthcare profession’s top talent, too, and it was the forum’s goal to bring them together.

“The people, the quality of the people!” said Bergman. To get them all in one place was commendable.”

“They paid a lot of attention, and most importantly, they all came away with an appreciation that the issue is global, but it varies by geography,” said Kess. “Everyone was impressed with the amount of work that’s being done all over the world.”

Next, the event’s organizers will publish the papers that were presented during the Forum. New York University also will collaborate with more than 50 other schools in the United States and abroad to help make dentists more aware of the need for oral cancer screenings.

“I think the healthcare community in general is more aware,” said Kess. “I think dentistry specifically is taking the need to examine the oral cavity for oral cancer much more seriously, and I think we’re raising the bar.”

“It’s not just about drilling and filling,” said Bergman. “Dentists are doctors. They’re providing healthcare. So we need to help underscore the important link between oral health and overall health – a fact that Henry Schein has championed for many years.”

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