Prof. Dr. Rosnah binti Mohd Zain

Professor of Oral Pathology & Oral Medicine
MAHSA University, Malaysia

Rosnah Zain is currently a Professor of Oral Pathology & Oral Medicine and Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, MAHSA University, Malaysia. She is currently an Honorary Professor at the University of Malaya and an Honorary Consultant for the NGO, Cancer Research Malaysia.

She has served as an academician for more than 30 years at the University of Malaya in the capacity of the Head of Department, the Deputy Dean and Dean. In the research setting, she strongly believes in collective efforts so as to gather a wider scope of ideas yet benefiting the others as well. Through this believe she had embarked on numerous projects with numerous co-researchers within the country and from countries of the region. Her main area of interest is in the ‘Early Detection of Oral Cancer’ where she is very much involved in the training of health professionals in oral lesions detection using a structured program ‘OralDETECT’ or its modification developed by her team in Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Centre (OCRCC) at the University of Malaya where she is currently an Advisor.

She has currently developed a MAHSA team of researchers in collaboration with OCRCC researchers on a topic of interest on how to assist countries in the Southeast Asian region in their effort to control oral cancer through awareness, early diagnosis and risk behavior interventions in particular betel quid chewing.


Control and Prevention Strategies for Oral Cancer – the Malaysian and Regional Scenario

The epidemiology of Oral Cancer is unique and varies from country to country. Its prevalence may differ and in many cases is dependent on the variation of lifestyles and habitual risk factors. Like other cancer research, different aspects of oral cancer research are converging to give an impact on the patients’ quality of life as well as the community. Despite the high volume of literature on oral cancer, patients are still being diagnosed at late stages, especially from the Asian region where almost two-thirds of patients presented with late stage cancers (Stages 3 & 4).

There are two general aspects of oral cancer control strategies which are considered to be of equal importance. One is for those with no cancer where prevention of oral cancer, early detection of oral cancer and prediction of malignant progression are extremely important to reduce the prevalence of oral cancer; whereas for those with oral cancer, effective management strategies can be very challenging due to the heterogeneity of the disease. The search for new strategies and therapeutics in combating oral cancer becomes of utmost importance for curative or palliative intent, which will finally, contributes to improved quality of life of patients.

When considering the Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC), the burden of oral cancer is high and with some countries having inadequate facilities and resources, population-based screening becomes unethical until such a time that the country has enough facilities and human resources to handle the outcome of screening. With this in mind, the move to reduce incidence of oral cancer is to concentrate on efforts on the early detection of oral cancer through public awareness of the disease and the risk behaviors.  Prevention through awareness is utmost importance while risk behavior interventions are equally important but may be more challenging to achieve the optimal output.

This presentation will focus on understanding oral cancer (clinicopathologic profiles, risk factors and progression) and their importance in prevention and management strategies in the Malaysian and Regional context.