The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says mouth cancers, also known as oral cancers, claims 764 lives in Nigeria every year.
He spoke in Abuja yesterday during an oral cancer training programme organised by the Cleft and Facial Deformity Foundation (CFDF).
Represented by the head of dentistry division of the ministry, Dr Gloria Uzoigwe, he said Nigeria also records 1,146 new cases of oral cancers annually.
He said oral cancers remained one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in Nigeria due to late reporting in hospitals, and inability of healthcare workers to detect the lesion early and refer appropriately among others.
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The minister said the government would launch a new oral health policy in November.
Executive Director, CFDF, Seidu Bello, said artificial intelligence helps in early detection of oral cancers and oral potentially malignant disorders.
He said it could be used to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy that someone could develop cancer in another 10 years.
He said the use of artificial intelligence for oral health was currently close to zero level in Nigeria.
President, Nigerian Dental Association, Tope Adeyemi, represented by the Secretary-General of the association, Ukachi Nnawuihe, urged full integration of oral health in the primary healthcare services in the country to ensure easy access to oral healthcare.
Prof. Bukola Folashade Adeyemi, from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, identified use of tobacco and alcohol, oral sex and intense use of foods prepared over naked flames such as suya, continuous infections in the mouth, as risk factors for oral cancers in Nigeria.