Mouth cancer diagnosis: THESE flavoured lollipops might be the best, painless way to do so

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New Delhi: Flavoured lollipops might be the next big thing in mouth cancer diagnosis, and the same is being developed by scientists. According to experts, the painless and non-invasive methods might put an end to putting a flexible camera at the end of the device which will be inserted through the mouth or nose for biopsy. This way is both time-consuming and painful. However, the lollipop might alternatively be quicker and comparatively less painful.

How can the lollipops help with cancer diagnosis?

The lollipop for mouth cancer diagnosis is made with smart hydrogel, a material developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. Experts said that patients must suck the lollipop to transfer the saliva sample into the hydrogel which will then act as a fishing net that catches proteins with saliva, proteins that could be cancer biomarkers. Researchers said that these nets can then be cut open in a lab for analysis.

How do smart hydrogels help with a cancer diagnosis?

Researchers say that smart hydrogels have great potential to diagnose mouth cancer. These can be shaped in any way and work well to catch cancer proteins in saliva. Researchers are now set on determining flavours for the lollipops. Conventionally, biopsies and nasoendoscopy are performed for cancer diagnosis but they need precision and are painful for patients too. This technique, however, would eliminate both.

What is mouth cancer?

Also known as oral cancer, mouth cancer is a disease that can develop in any part of the mouth, even the tongue. It can develop on the lips, the floor of the mouth, gums, cheeks, roof of the mouth, salivary glands, or tonsils. The symptoms of mouth cancer are:

Pain inside the mouth
Red, white patches in the mouth
Mouth ulcers that do not heal for over 3 weeks
Swallowing difficulties
Lump in the mouth or on the lip
Lump in the neck or throat
Hoarse voice, difficulty in speaking
Unexplained weight loss

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