Oral cancer accounts for 2.9% of all diagnosed cases of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society it is estimated that 51,000 people across the country will develop oral cancer this year and that 10,000 fatalities are expected from the disease.
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the orofacial complex but is most often found on the tongue, the tonsils and oropharynx, the gums, floor of the mouth, lips, cheek lining or the hard palate. While the disease can affect anyone, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women. Those particularly at risk for oral cancer are men over the age of 50 who are heavy smokers and frequently drink alcohol. Additional risk factors may include UV exposure from the sun or sunlamps, GERD (gastro-intestinal reflux disease), prior head and neck radiation treatment, exposure to certain chemicals and poor diet. While the death rate from oral cancer has been decreasing in the past several decades thanks to early detection and advanced methods of treatment improving the outcomes of care, there has been a recent rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer due to increased transmission of the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).
Although oral cancer remains one of the ten most frequently occurring cancers worldwide, recent advances in research, prevention, detection, and treatment, have enabled more and more people to experience positive outcomes of care. As a matter of fact, when oral cancer gets detected in its earliest stages, the survival rate exceeds 80%.
A VELscope® oral cancer screening offers our professional team a simple, painless, and thorough way to check for tissue abnormalities that may indicate the presence of oral cancer or premalignant dysplasia.
While a visual inspection and palpation offer valuable information on tissue health and the presence of disease, today, VELscope technology enables us to detect and visualize suspicious lesions that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Designed as a convenient and portable handheld device, VELscope is extremely sensitive to any abnormal changes in the natural tissue fluorescence of the oral mucosa. More simply put, the bright blue light of the VELscope device can distinguish healthy soft tissue inside the mouth from soft tissue that has undergone pathological changes. With an ability to identify, evaluate and monitor abnormal soft tissue changes that might otherwise remain undetected, VELscope offers a valuable adjunct to the oral cancer screening process.
We provide high-quality, whole-patient, and integrated care to support beautiful smiles, excellent oral health, and overall wellness.
As part of a patient’s checkup and dental hygiene visit, we perform routine oral cancer screenings, complemented by a VELscope examination to check for any questionable tissue changes that might be indicative of oral cancer or other harmful conditions. We also teach patients about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer and what to keep an eye out for at home.
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