"India is the first country in which we are using the device - it was specifically designed to meet conditions and needs there. The final device will have a solar option," Petra Wilder-Smith of BLI told IANS in an email interaction.
Recognised as a pioneer in the application of optics and lasers in oral diagnosis, Wilder-Smith said the device is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) - an imaging technology that is similar to ultrasound, except that it uses light (a laser). Screening will be in real-time and the patient will not be subjected to harmful radiation.
"The inexpensive, very small, robust portable diagnostic system for oral cancer based on OCT will be used to screen for oral cancer in the field by basic level healthcare workers in India, and a simple diagnostic algorithm will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual," said Wilder-Smith, director of dentistry at BLI. Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India, accounting for 40 percent of all cancers overall and for over 50 percent of all cancers in some areas of the country.
It is also disturbing to note the spike in oral cancer in young adults.
"In the U.S., the oral cancer rate is also high, especially in African-Americans, older persons, and tobacco and alcohol users. It is particularly troubling that recently a trend has been observed worldwide towards an increased incidence of oral cancer among young adults," informed Wilder-Smith, stressing on early detection.