As temperatures rise, conversations regarding skin cancer become quite frequent. However, cancer prevention is a year round task, and visiting your dentist regularly may catch oral cancer early on in the game. The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that "… approximately 35,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States." Some 25 percent of those people will die of the disease "and a new dental test can detect oral cancer in its earliest stages.
According to MedicalNewsToday.com, researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are working on developing the test. The product will allow dentist to use a brush to harvest cell samples from a patient's oral cavity. The technology is being worked on thanks to funding from a $ 2 million award awarded by the USA's National Institutes of Health.
The yet unspecified test is believed to generate an accurate oral cancer diagnosis in twenty minutes or less. Like other current cancer detection methods, at the present time oral cancer can only be confirmed with a biopsy and lab study. Depending on the location and work queue of the labs, getting the results may take time.
When it comes to any type of cancer, early detection is essential to conquering the disease. Tobacco users (both smokers and chewers), heavy drinkers, sun worshipers and those with a history of oral cancer need to always be on high alert for any suspicious changes in their oral cavity. Thankfully there are visual warning signs of oral cancer including:
- Pain or numbness in mouth
- Problems speaking, chewing and swallowing
- Changes in bite or general tooth health
- Skin discoloration in the mouth especially patches of red or white
- Sores that bleed or do not heal
- Lumps and bumps in the mouth (including the tongue)
- An area with the consistency of a scab