Medical Research Council - Clinical Services Centre

Whispering Cancer
24 November 2014

Whispering Cancer

That old chestnut about detecting cancer early to improve your chances of cure rings truest for pancreatic cancer (cells pictured). It’s an insidious cancer with a poor survival rate because it lurks quietly in its early – albeit poorly understood and hard-to-detect – form, until ready to flare up and spread to other parts of the body in its aggressive phase. Treatment is then harder with only around one in twenty people outliving it by more than five years. But researchers are finding ingenious new ways of detecting the disease early. They discovered that the abundance of specific bacteria in your mouth can give away its presence. Sufferers were found to have higher levels of the oral bacteria Leptotrichia and Campylobacter (usually associated with food poisoning), and lower levels of three other bacterial types. A simple saliva swab could soon save your life.

Written by Tristan Farrow

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