Wouldn’t it be great if there were an oral rinse that could that could easily detect oral cancer in its early stages? Researchers from the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, in collaboration with Vigilant Biosciences, say they may have such a low-cost testing alternative to detecting oral cancer available in the next 2 or 3 years.
This simple and painless test could potentially prevent a majority of patients from being diagnosed in the later stages of the disease where cure rates are only 40 percent. Most of the time oral cancer is discovered far too late, when it has already spread to the lymph nodes, requiring radical and many times disfiguring surgery to treat. Close to 42,000 American will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. It currently causes approximately 8,000 U.S. deaths per year.
Oral Rinse Test That Changes Color
Dr. Elizabeth J. Franzmann, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, and her team performed preliminary tests on 300 cancer patients as well as non cancer patients. All subjects were asked to rinse their mouths with a teaspoon of saline, swishing for five seconds followed by five seconds of gargling, and then spit into a collection tube. This saliva solution was then analyzed for early-stage early stage squamous cell carcinoma often linked to tobacco and alcohol use, and the HPV virus. This rinse test immediately changes color if certain proteins known to be clinically associated with the early onset of oral cancer, are present.
Until Then, See Your Dentist
Until this product is available to dentists, your best bet is to remember to schedule your regular dental visits twice a year. My hygienists and I are trained to examine for lumps or lesions or any abnormal tissue changes in the throat, neck and the inside of the mouth. Early detection is the best predictor of successful oral cancer treatment. Unfortunately, the reason why oral cancer survival rates are so grim is that it is often only detected in its later stages. We do oral cancer screenings at each and every hygiene visit.
Who’s at Risk?
While age is a risk factor, research has indicated that accumulative damage from alcohol and tobacco use as well as HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is a major contributor. People who both smoke and drink excessively are 15 times more likely to develop oral cancer than those people who don’t. This includes cigars and pipes and especially chewing tobacco.
At our Southfield Dental office we are well equipped and trained to help all our patients with questions and concerns regarding oral cancer. We encourage our patients to take control of their dental health for overall optimal health. We are committed to help keep you healthy for life!
That’s all for today,
Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD