Oral Cancer Screening with VELscope
Prestige Dentistry of Trinity and Palm Harbor, Florida, has added the revolutionary VELscope system to help us visualize abnormalities in the mucosal tissues of your lips, mouth and upper throat. In just two minutes, with no rinses, stains or discomfort, our VELscope exam helps us make sure your mouth is as healthy as it can possibly be.
How Does the VELscope Work?
The VELscope’s blue light “excites” molecules (called “fluorophores”) deep within the layers of oral mucosal tissues. In turn, those fluorophores emit their own light (fluorescence), in shades of green, yellow and red. The VELscope makes it possible to see that fluorescence and enhances the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.
Approximately 36,500 Americans were diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx in 2010. During the same time period 7,880 Americans died of oral cancer.*
One of the VELscope system’s most important tasks is to help identify areas that might, if not identified and treated, progress to oral cancer.
The statistics below, from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER Database, 1999-2006, are a compelling argument for regular VELscope exams:
Found early, while still Localized (confined to the primary site), oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is good: about 83%. Only 33% of all oral cancer discoveries fall into this category.
Found while Regional (progressed to regional lymph nodes) the five-year survival rate drops significantly, to about 55%. Approximately 46% of all oral cancer discoveries are Regional.
Found late, oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is poor: approximately 32%. This accounts for approximately 14% of all oral cancer findings.
Clearly, finding oral cancer in its early stages is key to survival. The VELscope offers greater hope for the early discovery of oral precancers and cancers.
Oral disease can have serious repercussions for both physical and psychological health. Oral-facial pain can be crippling, interfering with such basic activities as chewing, swallowing, talking, working, and sleeping. Conditions that change or distort our facial features can make us feel less attractive, leading to social withdrawal and depression.
The VELscope system is an important new tool in helping us discover a wide variety of oral abnormalities, including oral precancer and cancer.
*All statistics from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER Database.