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John X.J. Zhang
Cancer Research at UT: A solid foundation for a medical school

Diagnosing oral cancer quickly and painlessly

What if your next visit to the dentist included a quick scan for oral cancer?

Cancer may not be on the forefront of your mind when you schedule your regular teeth cleaning. But here’s something to consider: Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. And because it’s often not detected early enough, there is a high fatality rate.

“Without a comprehensive program in the U.S. to more opportunistically screen for the disease, late-stage discovery of oral cancer is more common," says John X.J. Zhang, a professor of biomedical engineering.

Zhang led researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to develop a portable microscope to make diagnosing cancer faster, easier and more cost efficient. And that, in turn, could lead to earlier diagnoses.

The device uses a micromirror and a laser to illuminate areas in the mouth, allowing doctors and dentists to conduct a real-time oral cancer screening.

Quick and painless and it could save your life.

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