As with all cancers, oral cancer has to be detected early for treatment to be successful. But it is not easy to visually detect changes in the tissues in the oral cavity. A doctor using a torch can at best have a subjective assessment and as a result, diagnosis can be way off the mark.
Cancer can be confirmed through a biopsy, but it is expensive and can also be painful for a patient when multiple tissue samples have to be collected. For biopsies to be accurate, tissues have to be collected from the most malignant site in the lesion.
The problem multiplies when you are in a rural area. Lack of proper diagnostic equipment, doctors and technicians mean people have to travel to the nearest town.
Dr Subhash Narayanan, the founder of Sascan Meditech, has invented OralScan, a breakthrough device that provides early, accurate and cost-effective detection of pre-cancerous lesions.
OralScan uses an optical system with custom-built software and algorithms for tissue analysis. It enables the physician to visualize and discriminate between healthy and potentially malignant sites.
With good accuracy, 97 per cent sensitivity and 92 per cent specificity, the technician or the doctor can easily detect cancer and eliminate the need for a biopsy. If there is any suspicion of cancer, OralScan pinpoints the site from which the tissue for a biopsy should be taken. This eventually saves the patient the pain of multiple biopsies and the associated costs.
OralScan is currently being used for screening and early detection of oral cancer in seven hospitals and dental colleges. So far, it has been used for screening thousands of patients in remote villages in Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh.
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