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New Oral Cancer Test More Effective Than Traditional Methods

Cytobrush biopsy was found to detect oral cancer better than previous cytology tests in a new study, the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine announced Tuesday.

During clinical trials at the University, the test showed a 0 percent false negative rate. Traditional scraping methods had a false negative rate as high as 30 percent.

With the cytobrush technique, a dentist who finds an area of concern runs a small round brush, which is similar to a mascara wand, over the suspicious lesion.

"The bristles are like those on a toothbrush," Martin S. Greenberg, professor and chairman of oral medicine at Penn and chief of oral medicine at Penn Medical Center, said in a statement. "They can penetrate and get a better sampling of cells than the old scraping technique."

The sample is sent to a lab where it is scanned using computer technology. Suspicious slides are tagged for further evaluation by a technician. Penn conducted clinical trials on the cytobrush for more than a year.

"Early detection is our most important weapon in our fight against oral cancer," Greenberg said. "The survival rate for this prevalent cancer is only 50 percent overall, but survival rates increase to greater than 80 percent if the cancer is found early. Oral cancer is a nasty disease. The best way to avoid it is prevention: no smoking, no excessive alcohol and regular oral exams to detect early suspicious lesions."; Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine


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