Did you know that oral cancer steals the life of one American every hour? We don't hear much about this issue, but more than 30,000 patients will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Only half of patients diagnosed with oral cancer will survive longer than five years. Because it is often detected in the later stages, oral cancer's mortality rate is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin's disease, brain, liver, kidney, or ovarian cancer. Treatment for oral cancer often causes disfiguration and lessens the patients quality of life.
Thanks to an amazing new technology, VELscope, dentists and hygienists can quickly and painlessly screen for oral cancer. ViziLite is an identification and marking system that detects tissue abnormalities and is used in combination with traditional visual exams.
All adults should have an annual VELscope exam because a quarter of oral cancer victims are non-smokers, don't drink, and have no lifestyle factors to heighten their oral cancer risk. Men over 40 are the most prone to the disease, although the number of women with oral cancer has risen in recent years, due to the increased number of women smokers. Patients with lifestyle risks, including any tobacco use, daily alcohol consumption, viral infections, autoimmune deficiencies like HIV, and diabetes, may need more frequent evaluations.
The VELscope is an advanced oral assessment technology system that offers clinicians the ability to visualize oral tissue abnormalities that may indicate the presence of oral cancer or pre-malignant dysplasia. A VELscope evaluation is quick, painless, and can be easily incorporated into an oral cancer screening visit.
The VELscope is a handheld scope that utilizes an imaging modality that is sensitive to changes in the natural tissue fluorescence of the oral mucosa. The bright blue light of the VELscope can distinguish healthy soft tissue inside the mouth from soft tissue that has undergone pathological changes.
This ability to identify, evaluate and monitor abnormal soft tissue changes that might not be caught otherwise makes the VELscope an excellent addition to a periodic head and neck exam.