In 2006, the America Cancer Society predicts that there would be 212,920 new cases of invasive breast cancer, and in that year, 40,970 women would die from it. While breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States, many lives can also be saved if a diagnosis was given earlier. Studies recently show that salivary tests can now be used to make early diagnoses for breast cancer.
In General Dentistry, researchers explain that there are proteins levels in saliva that can play a role in forming a diagnosis, treatment plan, and potential follow-up care for a patient with breast cancer. That would put general dentists in a position to assist with diagnosis samples. Because patients tend to make more frequent dental visits than physician visits, it would make sense for dentists to easily take saliva samples from patients’ mouths during checkups.
Salivary tests have also shown to have advantages over blood testing. Researchers have compared saliva and blood samples and explained that while saliva is clear and colorless, blood can change in color, which may affect test results. Saliva collection is also safe and non-invasive, and can be taken without causing the patient any pain.
This method of diagnosis is still pending and under the consideration of the Food and Drug Administration. If salivary testing does get approved, dentists and physicians can work together to help catch the onset of breast cancer early on. However, this does not mean that women should not go in for mammogram screenings or blood analysis; they are still considered the first line of defense. Even if breast cancer was detected via a salivary sample, a mammogram or imaging test is still needed to find the location of the cancer.
The possibility of detecting breast cancer early on through something as non-invasive as salivary analysis is truly promising. Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and consultation.