What does mouthwash have to do with the PLCO trial? As it turns out, quite a lot!
In addition to studying how well screening tests work, PLCO is also studying how people's lifestyle and biologic makeup might interact to develop cancer. PLCO is asking participants to consider donating a saliva sample so we can learn more about how cancer develops. Test results from these samples may be some of the most important information the PLCO trial will offer to the medical world.
PLCO is mailing buccal cell collection kits which include mouthwash to usual care participants. Buccal cells (pronounced "buckle") line the inside of the mouth, and, like all cells in the body, contain DNA. If you choose to participate, you will find that collecting buccal cells in your home is quick and painless -- a swish of mouthwash, spit, and mail it! Please follow the directions that come with the kit. If you have already sent us your sample, thank you very much. If you haven't received your kit yet, expect to see it at some time in the future.
You are free to choose to send a sample or not. Your choice will not affect your other participation in PLCO. And, please be assured your samples will be kept confidential in a special PLCO lab called the "PLCO Biorepository." Your name will never be on the sample.
The Biorepository samples will also be an invaluable tool for testing new ways to screen for cancer. In the future, medical researchers may develop promising new screening tests. With the PLCO Biorepository in place, researchers will be able to very quickly study whether or not their new tests are better than current ones.