Over five people in India die every hour because of oral cancer. By country, the incidence of oral cancer is the highest in India, which accounts for almost one-third of cases found in the world.
Globally, the 5-year mortality rate of oral cancer is approximately 50% and has not improved despite advances in diagnostic techniques and improvements in treatment modalities. The high mortality rate in oral cancer is attributed to late diagnosis, which is either due to a lack of knowledge or access to medical care.
QuitPuff is a Point-of-Care, salivary diagnostic test for the early risk detection of oral cancer.
The test is specially meant for chronic smokers who are at high risk of developing oral cancer.
It is a simple, quick, home-based test, requiring no special skills. Each test costs only Rs. 38 (approx. 50 cents) and has an accuracy of 96%.
It can detect the risk of developing oral cancer early, at a stage when behavioral changes can be made and the damage can be fixed.
The QuitPuff Reagent reacts with a biomarker of oral cancer present in saliva. This reaction produces a colored compound. The more the biomarker, the darker the color of the compound.
After forming a standard curve with known samples, we tested the QuitPuff Reagent, with ethical approval, on 500 subjects and obtained an accuracy of 96%.
QuitPuff is proposed as an early detection tool for smokers to predict their risk of developing oral pre-cancer and oral cancer. If such a tool could be provided free of cost with every cigarette pack, then more people would be willing to check their risk and make behavioral changes prior to the development of oral cancer. More people taking these tests would mean more people finding out their risks in the early stages. Early detection could enable better treatment outcomes and improvement in the quality of life. It could reduce healthcare costs and the economic burden of treating oral cancer.
At per sample cost of Rs. 38 (approximately 50 cents), it could offer an inexpensive and affordable option especially to the lower-income populations, where such a test is often most needed.
The test could be useful as a mass screening tool not only for routine clinics, but also for rural areas and remote locations with limited laboratory facilities or minimally trained health workers.
The test kit requires no elaborate storage conditions and could be easily transported to remote locations and stored in small pan-beedi shops (tobacco selling shops & kiosks) in rural areas.