The British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program is a multi-disciplinary team focused on a common vision of the prevention of oral cancer through the development of a Province-wide strategy for BC.
The vision of the British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program (BC OCPP) is to reduce the incidence and mortality of oral cancer through the development, validation and adoption of new techniques for early detection, risk assessment and management of premalignant oral disease and cancers. An integrated management structure links community health professionals in a step-wise referral pathway, to ensure seamless management of the disease from early dysplasia to frank malignancy. The initial focus is a province-wide strategy for BC. Its chief objectives are:
- To prevent the development of oral cancer, or to detect it at the earliest possible stage.
- To achieve a greater cancer cure rate through more clinically effective treatment.
- To improve the early detection of local and regional recurrences.
On a global scale, there is universal recognition that a new strategy for the prevention and management of oral cancer is needed. The unique strengths of the BC OCPP will allow us to develop successful models for oral cancer prevention and control that can be adopted and modified in other parts of the world. Our efforts contribute towards finding a global solution for a global problem.
Who we are
Led by Dr. Miriam Rosin, the British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program (BC OCPP) is a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and scientists with a broad range of skills, experience and expertise, focused on a common vision of the prevention of oral cancer through the development of a Province-wide strategy for BC. Active institutional participants include BC Cancer, Vancouver Hospital Health Sciences Centre, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the BC Dental Association and the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association.
The BC OCPP offers a variety of clinical and research programs:
Current clinical services include:
- One Community Outreach Clinic - Portland Dental Clinic, Vancouver Downtown Eastside
- Four Oral Dysplasia clinics:
- Two Intermediate Risk Clinics – Vancouver Hospital Health Sciences Centre and UBC Faculty of Dentistry
- Three High Risk Clinics – Vancouver Cancer Centre and Fraser Valley Cancer Centre and Cancer Centre for the Southern Interior
- BC Oral Biopsy Service:
- Established in 1980 and located in Vancouver General Hospital, this program offers a centralized pathology review service
Plans are well under way for implementation of future programs including:
- A Province-wide screening and treatment program for oral cancer
- A network linking community health professionals with referral services
- Increased capacity of existing referral clinics and expansion into regional areas including the Okanagan, the North, Kootenays and Vancouver Island
- A training program to transfer new technology and procedures to dentists and other community health professionals
- A continuing education program developed in partnership with the BC Dental Association
Globally, the approach to the study of oral cancer has involved investigation in treatment, research and prevention: however, the pace of development has been limited by the lack of translational integration of these components. The
British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program (BC OCPP) is well positioned to break through this barrier for two reasons; the unique, centralized structure of the BC Cancer Agency, which serves the entire population of British Columbia, and focus on team science, bringing together expertise from diverse disciplines.
Using an integrated knowledge translation approach, the BC OCPP involves patients, oral health providers, experts from other disciplines, and various other stakeholders during the entire research process. Our research team partners together with individuals in these networks to identify gaps in practice and research, conduct important oral cancer research and disseminate new findings to clinicians and patients. Our integrated knowledge translation approach aims to improve oral health in BC by strengthening oral care networks and producing research results that are highly relevant for practice. We are committed to doing research that quickly and effectively makes a difference for oral cancer patients.
Beginning in 1999, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Health that deals with oral health in the United States recognized the unique opportunity offered by the BC OCPP to develop and integrate several new technologies and levels of care into a reliable clinical protocol to improve oral cancer detection and survival. Since that time, the
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has provided significant research support to fund the Oral Cancer Predictive Longitudinal Study. This study is unique in that it integrates multifaceted data from diverse disciplines to generate a risk model that will guide the process of detection, risk assessment and management oral cancer.
Our initiatives in British Columbia are “going global.” We have begun outreach in India, where oral cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers. Most cases of the disease occur in rural settings, where many people are poor and illiterate. Many children and young adults are continuing to take up betel quid and tobacco chewing habits, and an epidemic of tobacco-induced cancers is predicted. The challenge of controlling oral cancer in India is huge, but the impact will be great. To achieve this task, joint efforts and collaborations are being developed. The BC OCPP is committed to taking on this challenge and assuming a leadership role through partnership and transfer of technology and its modification to fit the needs of the intended setting. There are plans to extend this outreach to China.