Predicting Cancer Is All in Your Head

Test on smokers' mouths shows link to disease in lungs
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2008 1:28 PM CDT
Using Riverain's OnGuard Chest X-ray CAD technology to detect suspicious nodules that may be early-stage lung cancer is another early-diagnosis tool, though mouth swabs would be even less invasive.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A simple test on cells from the mouth could help doctors predict which smokers will develop lung cancer, Reuters reports. In a test group, 95% of subjects with the genetic damage associated with cancer in their lungs had the same damage in their mouths.

A reliable test could spare patients invasive lung biopsies. "We are talking about just a brushing inside of the cheek to get the same information we would from lung brushings obtained through bronchoscopy," said one of the researchers.