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In the Future, We May Be Able to Test for Oral Cancer Through Saliva Tests

Posted on 11/15/2019 by Dr. Simon K Choyee
In the Future, We May Be Able to Test for Oral Cancer Through Saliva TestsAt present, oral cancers are primarily diagnosed through biopsies and imaging tests. Biopsies include brush biopsy, incisional biopsy, fine-needle aspiration biopsy, and mucosal staining.

Commonly used imaging techniques include CT scans, CAT scans, MRI scans, X-rays, barium swallow tests, etc. Research is being conducted on the possible use of saliva tests for detecting oral cancers.

Detection of Oral Cancers Through Salivary Tests

Oral cancers are often detected late. This is the reason why a salivary test could be of great help. It would be easy to conduct, and routine checks at the dentist's office could flag this condition, if present. Catching the condition early increases the chances of survival, which at present are around 62% after five years of diagnosis. At present, research is being conducted to learn if metabolites present in saliva could indicate the presence of oral cancer.

Researchers are comparing salivary biomarkers of healthy individuals, individuals with oral inflammations, and those who have been diagnosed with oral cancer. Researchers have chosen oral squamous cell carcinoma for this purpose. This is the most common type of oral cancer. At present, there are more than 100 known biomarkers for oral squamous cell carcinoma. However, many of them are also found in other dental problems.

If the research throws up differences that can help eliminate false positives, it would allow scientists to create targeted treatment plans for the disease before symptoms develop.

Present oral cancer screenings detect the condition after symptoms appear. By this time, the disease has spread aggressively, and treatment is difficult. Screenings at oral hygienists' centers may discover a tumor or growth, but by then the cancer has grown. Clearly, there is a need for a diagnostic procedure that can detect the condition earlier. Saliva tests may fulfill that need.

If you seek answers about oral cancer, then we'd be glad to help you out. From oral healthcare for preventing cancer to treating the condition, we can help you understand your options. Call today.
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