In 2019 over 8,300 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer and over 2,700 died in the UK as a result of mouth cancer. Now NHS England are allocating a £1 million grant to the creation of a more cost-effective non-invasive device to catch mouth cancer earlier without causing pain. The team behind it have ambitions to start clinical trials within the next 12 months on their device that will use electrical impedance spectroscopy with the aim of eradicating the requirement for invasive biopsies.
Dr Keith Hunter, professor of head and neck pathology at the University of Sheffield’s school of clinical dentistry, said: “Electrical impedance spectroscopy could help us to diagnose oral cancer earlier and more accurately, even when these cell changes may not be visually apparent. This could reduce the need for biopsies where there is no disease indicated, helping us to reduce patient anxiety and improve patient comfort. Hopefully developing less invasive techniques of diagnosing oral cancer will encourage more people to come forward with oral problems.”
“Electrical impedance spectroscopy could help us to diagnose oral cancer earlier and more accurately, even when these cell changes may not be visually apparent“
CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: “A person’s chances of beating mouth cancer rely on how quickly it is diagnosed and treated,’ he said. Sadly, survival rates of mouth cancer have barely improved in the last 20 years. This is because most cases are caught too late. Having a biopsy can be a painful and traumatic experience. Any device that can accurately diagnose mouth cancer while at the same time removing anxiety should be supported. There is a real and urgent need to find new ways of diagnosing mouth cancer. This new device has the potential to make an important contribution to the care and management of mouth cancer. By speeding up the process of diagnosis, you can move on to treatment much earlier. Not only does this give somebody a better chance of survival, it will also improve their quality of life.”