This medical video looks at mouth swab tests to detect Cancer.
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Jennifer Matthews: His speech is impaired, some of his neck is gone, and he can't swallow without water. All because no one noticed a lesion in Brian Hill's mouth until it was late-stage cancer. Brian Hill : I never smoked a day in my life, I'm going, how could this be happening to me? Jennifer Matthews: It may not have happened if the discovery made in this UCLA lab had come six years earlier. Turns out your saliva contains better biomarkers than blood for detecting oral cancer. Female Speaker: Thinking of foods like pickles, or lemons help the saliva flow. Jennifer Matthews: Turns out your saliva contains better biomarkers than blood for detecting oral cancer. David Wong: We don't have to stick a needle into someone's vein or give someone a cup and have them go to the bathroom, which could be embarrassing. And it's non-painful. Jennifer Matthews: The test is simple. You spit into a tube. It's taken to the lab and tested for biomarkers that signal cancer, similar to the PSA test for prostate cancer, but it's nearly 20% more accurate. David Wong: Within 24 hours, it will be known if you are at risk for oral cancer in your mouth or you have a clean bill of health. Jennifer Matthews: If found early, treatment can be as simple as removing a pre-cancerous lesion with a laser. David Wong: In all cancers, I don't care which you pick, where we've seen a drop in the death rate, it hasn't been through some miracle drug. It's always been early detection. Jennifer Matthews: While Brian is now cancer-free, he and wife Ingrid know the pain of catching this disease too late. They hope this test will save others from the same fate. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.