Oral health

The Crete Declaration:10th International Congress on Oral Cancer, April 2005, Crete, Greece

A commitment to action

The participants of the 10th International Congress on Oral Cancer which took place 19-24 April 2005 in Crete, Greece, welcomed the initiative to analyse the evidence on oral cancer and the implications for prevention and public health programmes. The participants from 57 countries emphasized that oral health is an integral part of general health and wellbeing. They expressed concern about the neglected burden of oral cancer which particularly affects developing countries with low availability of prevention programmes and services for oral health.

Participants took note of the following documents essential to improved health and disease control in the 21st Century.

  • The WHO World Oral Health Report 2003
  • The WHO World Health Report 2004 - Changing History
  • The WHO Technical Report Series No. 916 on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, 2003
  • WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2003

The participants hereby affirm their commitment to oral health and general health as a basic human right and resolve to support the work carried out by national and international health authorities, research institutions, non-governmental organizations and civil society for the effective control of oral cancer. In particular, the following areas of work should be strengthened:

  • provision of systematic epidemiological information on prevalences of oral cancer and cancer risks in countries, particularly in the developing world.
  • promotion of research into understanding biological, behavioural and psychosocial factors in oral cancer, emphasizing the inter-relationship between oral health and general health
  • integrating oral cancer information into national health surveillance systems which record chronic diseases and common risk factors
  • dissemination of information on oral cancer, prevention and care through every possible means of communication
  • active involvement of oral health professionals in oral cancer prevention through control of risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol and diet
  • training of primary health workers in screening and provision of first-level care in oral cancer
  • access to health facilities and provision of systems for early detection and intervention, oral health care and health promotion for the improvement of quality of life of people affected by oral cancer.

The participants support the efforts of the WHO Oral Health Programme aiming at coordination and inter-country sharing of experiences in prevention and oral health care of people affected by oral cancer.