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News / October 13, 2010

Simple cheek swab may detect lung cancer

by Guy Hiscott

Scientists have discovered that a simple swab of the cheek can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.
The inner cheek is swabbed then diffuse light is shined on the cells from the swab.
The swab, called partial wave spectroscopis (PWS) microscopy, was able to differentiate between people who had lung cancer and those who didn’t.
The test could tell if they had cancer even if they had been lifetime smokers or suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Lead author and physician and researcher, Hemant Roy, of NorthShore University Health Systems and the University of Chicago, said: ‘This study is important because it provides the proof of concept that a minimally intrusive, risk-stratification technique may allow us to tailor screening for lung cancer… This represents a major step forward in translating biomedical optics breakthroughs for personalised screening for lung cancer.’

• SOURCE: Cancer Research, published online 12 October 2010