That old chestnut about detecting cancer early to improve your chances of cure rings truest for pancreatic cancer (cells pictured). It’s an insidious cancer with a poor survival rate because it lurks quietly in its early – albeit poorly understood and hard-to-detect – form, until ready to flare up and spread to other parts of the body in its aggressive phase. Treatment is then harder with only around one in twenty people outliving it by more than five years. But researchers are finding ingenious new ways of detecting the disease early. They discovered that the abundance of specific bacteria in your mouth can give away its presence. Sufferers were found to have higher levels of the oral bacteria Leptotrichia and Campylobacter (usually associated with food poisoning), and lower levels of three other bacterial types. A simple saliva swab could soon save your life.
Written by Tristan Farrow
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.