E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

Betel-nut chewing a time bomb for oral cancer in Papua New Guinea (#679)

Rose Andrew 1
  1. PNG Cancer Centre, National Department of Health, Waigani, PNG, Papua New Guinea

Background and Context:

Published researches have shown that Betel-nut chewing poses a significant risk to Oral Cancer due to the inherent concentration of carcinogenic substances associated with the ingredients of Betel-nut chewing. This social practice coupled with consumption of other cancer-causing substances such as Tobacco and Alcohol significantly increases the risk of developing oral cancer among the general populace. In Papua New Guinea, betel-nut chewing is a traditional norm and widely accepted cultural practice. Compounded with this are the widespread consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and these lifestyle practices therefore pose a major risk for oral cancer in PNG, as evident through the increasing cases of oral cancer being registered and reported at all major hospitals.


 To seek funding assistance from international donor agencies to develop and implement public oral health policies and oral cancer prevention programs throughout PNG.


1)To develop Oral/Dental Public Health Policy Framework.

2) To develop and implement comprehensive oral cancer prevention programs.

3)To develop the required specialist human resources to implement public oral cancer prevention programs

Programme Process:

 1) Develop Oral Health Policy Framework

2) Develop Oral Cancer Prevention Programs

3) Request funding support to implement ongoing prevention programs

4) Develop the required human resource capacity to fully implement prevention programs, as well to provide palliative care.

Costs and returns:

 The recurring costs are yet to be determined as part of the overall Oral Public Health Policy framework. The benefits will be a remarkable decrease in oral cancer cases due to change in lifestyle as a result of this prevention programs.

Outcomes/What was learned:

When the proper messages are disseminated to the public, the public can change their attitude towards consumption of carcinogenic substances such as betel nut, tobacco and alcohol. This will eventually reduce the cases of oral cancer which is prevalent and widespread across the country.