12 Jul 2010

Betel nut, oral cancer pilot study for Saipan, Guam underway

5:19 am on 12 July 2010

A betel nut and oral cancer pilot study in Saipan and Guam is to be launched soon.

The data collection, to begin in October, aims to gather baseline information to develop protocols for studying oral pre-cancerous lesions and other health risks among betel nut users in Micronesia.

A co-leader of the research, Dr Yvette Paulino, from the University of Guam, says the World Health Organisation has discovered betel nut chewing can be carcenogenic.

She says the study will compare different methods of betel nut chewing to identify any patterns relating to the risk of oral cancer.

"Some of the things we want to do would be to collect information on areca nut or betel quid use among the study purchase events as well as other family members, which would also include children. So a betel nut history on them. We'll be doing some oral screeing; we have dental staff on our team."

Dr Yvette Paulino says the three-year project will involved 300 participants from Guam and Saipan.