Bengaluru, India, Feb 5, 2024:
The Consensus Guidelines for the Management of Head and Neck Cancer (HNC), developed under the aegis of Oral Cancer Task Force (OCTF) supported by the Biocon Foundation, has been recognized amongst the 13 worldwide clinical practice guidelines by Cancers, an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal of oncology.
The OCTF’s consensus guidelines was included in journal Cancers as part of a scoping review that identified and compared the worldwide clinical practice guidelines for treating oral, oropharynx, and larynx cancer. This recognition acknowledges the global significance of the OCTF’s efforts and positions its consensus guidelines among those from U.S., Europe, Canada, Japan, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).
In 2018, Biocon Foundation, the CSR arm of the Biocon Group, took the initiative to form the OCTF with a mission to ideate, educate and engage stakeholders and thereby, effectively downstage oral cancer in India. The OCTF is an independent, multi-disciplinary task force comprising leading oncologists from across India. Under the aegis of OCTF, the first ever Indian clinical practice guidelines on management of HNC were laid down and published in the Indian Journal of Cancer in February 2020.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder & Managing Trustee, Biocon Foundation, and OCTF Member, said, “We are exceptionally proud that the Consensus Guidelines for the Management of Head and Neck Cancer developed by the Oral Cancer Task Force (OCTF) with support from the Biocon Foundation, has been recognized among the 13 worldwide clinical practice guidelines in Cancers, an international peer-reviewed journal of oncology. This acknowledgment reflects the collaborative efforts of our dedicated experts and underscores our commitment to making a positive impact on the landscape of head and neck cancer management, particularly in the context of the prevalent oral cancer cases in India.”
Dr. Anupama Shetty, Mission Director, Biocon Foundation, said, “At the Biocon Foundation, we have been working at the ground level to downsize oral cancer, which is predominant in India. The India-specific consensus guidelines have been developed by national experts of OCTF and is also informed by the Foundation’s decade-long experience and research in the domain. The inclusion of these guidelines in the Cancer Journal’s systematic review of worldwide treatment recommendations for head and neck cancer is a remarkable milestone for the OCTF and a testament to the dedication and expertise of its members.”
According to GLOBOCAN 2020 report, HNCs is the most common cancer among men and 4th among women in India. Every year, 225,419 new HNC cases and 125,244 deaths from the disease are reported in India. This is owing to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, especially in the rural regions. To address the issue, Biocon Foundation has been conducting oral cancer screenings for the underserved communities since 2011.
Responding to the need for India-specific guidelines to treat HNC patients, the OCTF had in 2018 started the exercise to tailor treatment recommendations to demographics, technological/human resources and usual local practices. The first edition of the guidelines was published in the Indian Journal of Cancer in February 2020. The second, updated edition was officially launched at the 4th edition of the OCTF Conference in July 2023 and was published in the Journal of Cancer Research Statistics and Treatment, further underscoring their significance and contribution to the field.
HNCs account for approximately 30-40% of all cancer cases in India. The guidelines include details on how the causative factors in India differ from those in other countries. The factors consist of extensive use of tobacco, pan masala (betel quid, areca nut, and slaked lime), and gutka. Given the high incidence of HNC and limitations of access to treatment, these updated guidelines are crucial to optimizing treatment outcomes and achieving the highest possible success rates in treatment for HNC patients.