Oral Cancer is getting more media attention due to HPV (Human Papapillomavirus) and its alarming late detection rate.  The survival rate is 60% and sadly this is a statistic has not improved in the last 50 years. Of all oral cancers, 90% are squamous cell carcinomas, with an average of at least 40,000 new diagnoses per year. Recently, celebrities are stepping out of the shadows and bravely sharing their personal stories, bringing awareness to early detection.  Fortunately, there is a new salivary diagnostics exam which your general dentist can perform chair side; with no needles involved and it’s a quick and painless process.

The technology available to cancer patients has drastically improved in the past 50 years; so, why has the survival rate not improved with the times?  Oral cancer has been elevated to the sixth most common cancer worldwide.  Currently, the use of salvia as a diagnostic fluid is the cutting edge of early detection with oral cancer. This had been under development for the past decade and it’s recognized as a convenient body fluid for biomarker evaluation. If oral cancer is caught early, the survival rate is higher than 90%.  What a world of difference from the late detection survival rate of 60%!

Salivary biomarkers have been shown to aid in the early detection of oral squamous cell cancer (OSCC) which is the leading oral cancer perpetrator. The National Cancer Institute-Early Detection Research Network (NCI-EDRN) has independently verified these markers found in saliva.  A vast majority the of patient population does not report having an oral cancer screening at routine dental cleanings and exams. These exams are recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the National Cancer Institute-Early Detection Research Network (NCI-EDRN).  The potential successes of early detection via chair side saliva swab at your dentist are phenomenal and measured only exponentially.   The “key” to cancer is early detection and now dentists are able to provide this service.