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A new study has suggested that a blue light used by dentists to harden dental fillings may also help to treat oral cancer.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia have found that the wavelengths of blue-violet light produce free radicals, which can cause damage to tumours, stunting their growth.
They tested the theory on mice and found a ten per cent increase in cell suicide, or apoptosis, in the light-treated tumours, combined with an 80 per cent decrease in cell growth.
Dr Jill Lewis, associate professor of oral biology at the college, said: "We're thinking that some day, blue light therapy may serve as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapy."
This could enable patients to receive lower doses of chemotherapy, which has a number of unpleasant side-effects.
MaxHealth recent revealed that oral cancer will kill more people in Maryland this year than either melanoma or cervical cancer, while only 50 per cent of those diagnosed with the disease will survive.
Symptoms include red or white patches in the mouth, soreness, difficulty in moving tongue or jaw, numbness and swelling.
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