VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System
Approximately 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year, causing more than 9,750 deaths. In real terms, one American per hour, each day, will die of oral cancer. (Oral Cancer Foundation, 2017) Only about half of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals will live for five more years. This number has stayed fairly consistent for many decades. The oral cancer death rate is even higher than more common cancers such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testes cancer and endocrine system cancer. Worldwide, the deaths due to oral cancer are over 450,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
Risk Factors of Oral Cancer
Certain behaviors will increase the probability of a cancer diagnosis:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Daily and frequent use of tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, pipes and chewing tobacco
- Alcohol abuse
- Family history of oral cancer or other types of cancer
- Typically men age 50 and older are most at risk for oral cancer. However, more women are diagnosed with it due to the connection between oral cancer and the human papilloma virus, also known as HPV-16.
VELscope: An Effective Oral Cancer Screening System
“All Smiles” Dentistry offers an effective and painless way to screen for oral cancer. Our VELscope screening system is a specialized white light and viewing scope that our doctors use to examine closely your mouth tissues. Under this light, they look for and locate any tissue that is not a normal bright green color.
Though an abnormal screening does not definitely indicate cancer, it’s a “heads up” signal to look closer. And a second scan may be recommended in a follow up appointment.