In cancer research, prevention is the name of the game. There is so far no further progress in the realm of stopping the actual immune responses of cells that become cancerous, and there is no way to stop the proliferation and abnormal cell growth associated with the formation of tumors, although research is being done to make sure that one day that will be possible. The findings in that part of cancer research are extraordinary, and the secret to how cells react and “make decisions” is going to be unlocked, hopefully within our lifetime.
The only left to do then, is to prevent the formation of cancerous cells. The problem is, we do not understand exactly how that happens, although we do know that certain things like smoking, drinking, HPV, stress and burnt foods can cause cancer, and that irritation and overuse of tissues will make the tissues turn cancerous. So the idea is that once the tumor is formed, we can remove it and treat the place of the tumor with bisphosphonate drugs and chemotherapy and although this is very far from an ideal situation, it does mean that you will not die if you get cancer, provided that you get treated in time. The problem with carcinomas (cancerous tumors) is that they are self contained only for a short period of time, and then they start to move around and get to other parts of the body in a process known as metastasis. If the tumor is removed before metastasis occurs, you are a winner, and you can enjoy the rest of your life in relative ease. This is why the emphasis is on prevention, but it needs happen in time. One way that we can get to cancerous growths before they travel around is by looking for biological markers. Biological markers are by products and antibodies that imply the presence of a tumor, this way we know where to look. And scientists have just found the biomarkers for oropharyngeal cancer.
A protein known as S100A7 is the indisputable marker for oral cancer, according to recent studies conducted by an international research team at the University of Toronto. The best thing is, these proteins are markers from precancerous oral lesions, so they are markers that tell us that the oral lesion will in fact turn into a carcinoma, before it actually goes and does so. This means that it is now easier to detect oral cancer, and that you can detect it before it is formed. This may mean that the era of oral cancer as we know is potentially coming to an end, and that this is now a preventable problem. That’s good news if I have ever heard any.
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