We believe every interaction with our patients is an opportunity!
Call Today! 480.821.4000
5590 W. Chandler Blvd. #1 
Chandler, AZ 85226
get smile on your face

Non-invasive screening tool for oral cancer diagnosis

Thursday, June 11   Posted in General Dentistry  by admin  Tagged #oral cancer

Oral cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality around the globe. Mouth cancer is a debilitating disease which adversely affects the oral soft and hard tissues deteriorating the quality of an individual’s life. Pain, discomfort, numbness accompany the disease and ulcerations especially on the tongue, lips, cheeks and surrounding oral tissues make it very difficult and painful for the affected person to eat, drink, speak and perform normal functions. Early detection 

and screening of the abnormal cellular growth and changes occurring in the mouth is of prime importance for devising an effective management plan for reducing the discomfort and recovery of affected tissues.

Conventional methods of oral cancer diagnosis such as biopsy are quite invasive in nature and have shown the spread and metastasis of condition in many cases. Furthermore majority of people hesitate to undergo invasive surgical procedures for the sole purpose of diagnosing the cancerous lesions. With the increasing prevalence of hepatitis B and C, it is recommended to avoid invasive surgical procedures wherever possible. Non-invasive diagnostic procedures for the detection of mouth cancer have gained popularity now. Velescope device has been an important invention in this regard. Spectroscopy has revolutionized the science of diagnostic procedures. The modern portable devices are easy to use and cost-effective.

Malignant tumours of the oral cavity are the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. As such, a fast and accurate diagnosis is key to maximising the probability of successful treatment and the hope and quality of life of patients.

“The earliest symptom of cancer of the oral cavity is the appearance of whitish or reddish lesions, which do not disappear or which may grow larger with time, on the inner surface of the oropharyngeal cavity”, explains Dr. Roberto Valdés from the Hospital Povisa. These lesions subsequently become painful, either spontaneously or during chewing or swallowing, followed by the onset of oral bleeding.

In the event of the onset of such signs, the method currently used to diagnose carcinoma of the epithelial mucosal tissue in the oropharyngeal cavity (the moist tissues that cover the mouth and upper part of the throat) is observation and biopsy of those tissues with an abnormal appearance. This is therefore an invasive technique whose accuracy depends on adequate sampling of the lesion and correct interpretation of the results of the pathological analysis.

The key to this new technique is the use of an optical technique known as Raman spectroscopy, which involves irradiating the tissue with laser light to provide accurate information regarding the surface irradiated without having any harmful effects on it.

“Although it had previously been shown that Raman spectroscopy can differentiate between different functional groups characteristic of changes in living tissue, specific studies with this type of cancer had not been conducted”, explains Miriam López, a researcher at IBI. “Malignancy indices such as those developed by us were also unavailable, therefore this study represents and clear and specific breakthrough in the detection of this disease with high reliability”, she adds.