According to the WHO statistics, cancer causes around 7.6 million deaths worldwide each year. Deaths from cancer are projected to rise to 17 million in 2030. Changes in lifestyle and improved prevention and screening policies could prevent up to 40% of all cancer cases.
On 2 December 2003 the Health Ministers of the European Union unanimously adopted a recommendation on cancer screening based on the developments and experience in the Europe Against Cancer program. The Recommendation of the Council of the European Union spells out fundamental principles of best practice in early detection of cancer and invites EU Member States to take common action to implement national cancer screening programs.
Reports from the US state that Oral Cancer is the most expensive to treat. Most oral cancers require costly and disfiguring medical intervention, and even then the five-year survival rate is only 57%. There are 124.000 new cases diagnosed each year. This gives an additional cost to the medical health care system of €6.944B per year.
Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Today, there is still no comprehensive program to opportunistically screen for the disease, and without that; late stage discovery and high mortality rates are most likely to continue.
In a previous Research for SMEs project: (EDOCAL), the SMEs 2M, CST and TG developed a preliminary test system for early cancer detection using state of the art telecom laser technology. This project finished on 31.12.2011 and the results achieved in were in line with the goals set put at the start of the project.
Our objective in this project is to use the results of the research to build and validate the demonstrator in a clinical setting and subsequently to commercialise the first low cost screening tool for early detection of oral cancers.