Monday, December 1, 2008
Medical Reports: Medical Mouthwash
Detecting cancer could be as simple as gargling a mouthwash. Local researchers have developed a new way to test for head and neck cancer, something that can be cured if caught early enough. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us how this Medical Mouthwash works.
WSVN -- When you think of mouthwash, you probably think of a rinse that freshens your breath. This mouthwash is detecting cancer.
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann, UM Sylvester Cancer Center: "It just tastes like ocean water."
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann and a team of researchers at the UM Sylvester Cancer Center have developed a mouthwash test meant to catch head and neck cancer at it's earliest stage.
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann: "Most people that are diagnosed are diagnosed in late stage, and we can only cure it about 30 percent of the time. I know that if we could catch it earlier we could be able to help these patients."
The test they've developed is easy to use. The patient simply swishes then gargles with a saline solution for several seconds.
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann: "So this salt solution is lifting off substances from the lining of the oral cavity and the throat."
The patient spits the solution into a cup and then the doctor and her team get to work analyzing the saliva.
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann: "We're looking for certain molecules to see if they are present at either higher or lower levels than normal. If I see the molecules at either higher or lower levels than normal, then that's an indication that there may be cancer or the beginnings of cancer."
The biggest goal is to test high-risk patients who have smoked or drank a lot over the years.
Richard Gray: "I've been smoking for a really long time, and I do have family members that have died from cancer."
Since Richard's a smoker, he joined the study and got the test. He swished and gargled.
Richard Gray: "It was a little salty, but it wasn't bad."
For now, the test results offer good news.
Richard Gray: "Fortunately, everything was benign, and they didn't find any cancer, made me feel good."
And Dr. Franzmann feels good knowing this test could help them find patients with cancer before it's too late.
Dr. Elizabeth Franzmann: "So far, the results of our oral rinse have been very promising. We just need to study it in additional patients."
Most of the people involved in the study are already patients at their clinic. You can get an oral screening and a head and neck check at your dentist office.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
UM Sylvester Cancer Center