Researchers believe they are one step closer to detecting pancreatic cancer – through a simple saliva test. The team at UCLA School of Dentistry1 were able to identify the same biomarkers associated with pancreatic cancer in saliva, potentially enabling dentists to screen for the disease.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Most people with the disease will die within the first year of diagnosis, and just six per cent will survive five years.
Previous research has identified that dentists could help to screen for a number of chronic diseases, diabetes, potential heart problems, alcohol abuse and help with smoking cessation.
Pancreatic cancer accounted for 7,901 deaths in 20102. With previous research suggesting gum disease could be linked to developing the disease, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, has called for further research into the potential screening process.
Dr Carter said: “Pancreatic cancer is extremely aggressive. If there is any possibility of dentists detecting it through a saliva test, further research must be done. What it does highlight is the importance of regular visits to the dentist.
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