Oral cancer in Brazil: a secular history of Public Health Policies

The oral cancer in Brazil is considered an important public health issue. Despite almost a century of combat disease, with oncological assistance programs and prevention campaigns based public policies, the incidence of oral cancer in several regions is still high. The major goal of cancer prevention and control is a reduction in both the incidence of the disease and the associated morbidity and mortality, as well as improved life for cancer patients and their families. Low-income and disadvantage groups are generally more exposed to avoidable risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol consumption. These groups have less access to the health services and education that would empower them to make decisions to protect and improve their own health. Thus, cancer control programs are the most effective instrument to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice and achieve this goal. The authors report some key historical facts concerning the fight against oral cancer in Brazil, in addition to addressing the epidemiological aspects of disease.