Oral cancer kills more people than any other types of cancer, be it testicular cancer, cervical cancer or cancer of the brain each year and receives little publicity in return. Thousands of people contract oral cancer each year, and a little above half of these people will live for more than five years without treatment.
Although many people believe that if they abstain from tobacco and alcohol use, oral cancer will not affect them, it is evident 25% of those diagnosed abstain from both substances. But certainly, tobacco and alcohol use does contribute to oral cancer.
Oral cancer screening, which could be done annually, is suggested as the best way to stay protected from oral cancer. Most dentists will perform an oral cancer exam during a regular dental checkup.
The VELscope® is a blue excitation lamp, which uses Fluorescence Visualization (FV) to highlight precancerous and cancerous cells.
A bright blue light is shone into the mouth to expose changes and lesions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. One of the biggest difficulties in diagnosing oral cancer is that its symptoms look similar to symptoms of less serious problems. The VELscope® System affords the dentist important insight as to what is happening beneath the surface.
The VELscope® frequency of blue light naturally absorbs the healthy soft tissue of the mouth. The healthy areas beneath the surface of the soft tissue shows up green, and the problem areas become much darker.
Here are some of the advantages of using the VELscope® System:
The VELscope® examination literally takes only two or three minutes. It is a painless and noninvasive procedure that saves many lives every single year.
The procedure of this examination starts initially with a regular visual examination of the whole lower face by the dentist. This includes the teeth, the glands, tongue, cheeks as well as the palate. Next, a pre-rinse solution is swilled around the mouth for slightly less than a minute. A special eyewear is used to protect the integrity of the retinas by the dentist. The lights in the room are dimmed to allow a clear view of the oral cavity.
The small VELscope® projects blue light inside the mouth. Lesions and other indicators of oral cancer are easily noticeable because they appear much darker under the specialized light.
If symptoms of cancer are noted, the dentist may take a biopsy to determine or confirm whether or not this is oral cancer. The results of the biopsy will then dictate the best course of action moving forward. After this, another oral cancer screening is performed in one year’s time.
If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer screening or the VELscope® system, please contact our office at (403) 277-7464.