VELscope Early Oral Cancer Detection emits a fluorescent blue light that allows Meetinghouse Dental Care to detect any kind of abnormal tissue. Abnormal tissue can include everything from oral cancer to a cut or abrasion from normal chewing and eating. If our doctors or hygienist detect anything, we need to find out what it is.
Importance of Early Oral Cancer Screenings
Did you know that one American dies of oral cancer every hour?
Tobacco use and alcohol use remain high risk factors in oral cancer, but age, exposure to environmental toxicity, and exposure to HPV virus are now recognized as additional PRIMARY factors. In fact, 27% of today’s oral cancer victims do not smoke or drink.
At highest risk
- individuals 40 and older with lifestyle risk factors that include:
- tobacco use (any type within 10 years)
- alcohol consumption of one+ drinks per day
- previous history of oral cancer
- autoimmune deficiencies such as HIV and AIDS
- viral infections, particularly human papilloma virus
At high risk
- individuals 40 and older with no lifestyle risk factors
- individuals younger than 40 with lifestyle risk factors
At increased risk
How VELscope Works
Traditional oral cancer screenings cannot detect earliest stages of cancer. While worthwhile, they are only 40-70% effective at discovering the earliest signs, no matter how thorough or experienced the dentist, according to current research studies. The VELscope shines a blue light into the mouth, and the dentist examines through a viewfinder in the machine. Healthy oral tissues reflect back lime green. Any unhealthy, abnormal tissue appears dark black.
A VELscope screening is an annual early detection procedure like the mammogram, Pap smear, Prostate
Specific Antigen test, and colonoscopy. An early detection
screening is advisable for all sexually active guests and/or
guests ages 21 and over once per year. Early detection screening allows the dentist to identify
suspicious areas of the mouth at the earliest possible stages during your routine cleaning and exam visit. The procedure is painless and takes three minutes to perform using fluorescent light technology that penetrates skin to the basal layer.
The American Cancer Society indicates that more women in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year (>12,000 cases) than cervical cancer (<10,000 cases). Furthermore, there are now as many cases of oral cancer caused by the sexually transmitted disease of human papilloma virus (HPV) as HPV-related cases of cervical cancer. The death rate in the United States for oral cancer is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin's disease, and cancer of the brain, liver, testes, kidney, or ovary, but oral cancer is 90% curable when found in early stages.
Early detection of pre-cancerous tissue can minimize or eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer.
Early detection can save your life.