Vibrational spectroscopy analyses vibrations within a molecule and can be used to characterise a molecular structure. Raman spectroscopy is one of the vibrational spectroscopic techniques, in which incident radiation is used to induce vibrations in the molecules of a sample, and the scattered radiation may be used to characterise the sample in a rapid and non-destructive manner. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a complementary vibrational spectroscopic technique based on the absorption of IR radiation by the sample. Molecules absorb specific frequencies of the incident light which are characteristic of their structure. IR and Raman spectroscopy are sensitive to subtle biochemical changes occurring at the molecular level allowing spectral variations corresponding to disease onset to be detected. Over the past 15 years, there have been numerous reports demonstrating the potential of IR and Raman spectroscopy together with multivariate statistical analysis techniques for the detection of a variety of cancers including, breast, lung, brain, colon, oral, oesophageal, prostate and cervical cancer. This paper discusses the recent advances and the future perspectives in relation to cancer screening applications, focussing on cervical and oral cancer.
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