Did you know that 70% of oral cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, III and IV, which lowers the cure rate to only 20%? A big factor to the late detection is that oral cancer can often present itself as relatively small problems, such as a loose tooth or an ulcer that doesn’t heal.
The difference of an early diagnosis is a cure rate of 80%, a much higher chance of survival with no lasting health or lifestyle risks. There is particular urgency around early detection of oral cancer in South and Southeast Asia, which [due to local risk habits of tobacco, areca nut, and alcohol consumption] accounts for more than 60% of global oral cancer.
The faculty of Dentistry in University of Malaya, in collaboration with Cancer Research Malaysia, has launched a new service using MeMoSA® Web App for follow up of patients and for early detection of oral cancer.
As oral lesions are visible by mouth examinations, studies have shown that training healthcare workers to distinguish suspicious lesions from benign ones can lead to a 30% improvement in survival. But patients need to be checked and managed regularly, something that many patients can find difficult to keep up with, it could be that treatment centres are located far away from them or they require assistance to get to and from the hospital.
This has only been made worse by the pandemic.
Professor Dr Cheong Sok Ching, lead developer of the MeMoSA® Web App shared, “MeMoSA® allows the patient to easily document their oral lesions at home through a mobile phone camera and to send the images to their clinicians for consultation. Our study showed that the concordance between direct clinical examination and remote mobile phone detection was more than 90%, which means that signs of cancer can be identified remotely using photos taken by a smartphone. By facilitating a seamless and secure two-way communication between patients and their doctors, we have improved clinical follow up and enabled early detection of oral cancer.”
Associate Professor Dr Siti Mazlipah Ismail, an oral maxillofacial surgeon at the University of Malaya added, “During the pandemic, more than 60% of our patients missed or had their clinical appointments postponed. In a way, it forced us to adopt digital health technology faster and we are delighted that MeMoSA® was quickly available to enable continued care of patients.”
An anonymous patient shared, “The quality of care delivered by teleconsultation is better compared to clinical visits as I was able to highlight the lesion and discuss my concerns in private, which made me feel closer to my clinicians than I would at the clinic. A plus point is that it is efficient as it saves on travelling time.”
Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Hajjah Dr Aishah Ong, who launched the new digital health services said, “I am delighted that University of Malaya and Cancer Research Malaysia have once again worked together to improve the outcome of oral cancer patients. Oral cancer is a disease that is more common in the Asian population and integrating digital health tools such as MeMoSA® can go a long way to improve the follow up and outcome for oral cancer patients. We hope that donors will continue to support our efforts to save lives particularly for Asians.”
To find out more information on the MeMoSA® WebApp, check out www.cancerresearch.my or email email@example.com. If you would like to support Cancer Research Malaysia, and the work that we do, donations can be made to www.cancerresearch.my/donate.