VELscope and oral cancer detection

We’ve recently started using VELscope in our practice. This is a tool that helps dental professionals to find oral abnormalities including oral cancer; that would not normally be visible to the naked eye.  VELscope uses a blue LED light that causes the healthy tissues in the mouth to fluorese green upon exposure; unhealthy tissue appears dark.  Found early, oral cancer’s 5 year survival rate is good: approx. 83%; if found late, oral cancer’s 5 year survival rate is poor: approx. 32%.  Therefore finding disease earlier is the key to survival.

Risk factors of oral cancer include but are not limited to: {Factors you can control} Tabacco use (including chewing tabacco), Excessive alcohol consumption, the combined use of tabacco and alcohol, excessive unprotected exposure to the sun, low intake of fruits and vegetables. use of betel nut and bedis.  {Factors out of your control}: Age, HPV16 viral infection, race, ethnicity and economics, recurrence, gender.

Signs and Symptoms:  {Early indicators} Red and or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth, any sore which does not heal within 14 days and Hoarseness which lasts for prolonged period of time. {Advanced indicators}: A sensation that something is stuck in your throat, numbness in the oral region, difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue, difficulty swallowing, ear pain which occurs on one side only, a sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal, a lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck.

Screening only takes a few minutes out of your day and could add years to your life.  We are proud to offer this service to our patients and recommend a screening 1-2 times per year.

We have found that people who are complete denture wearers tend to not realize that they still require regular oral examinations of both their dentures and oral cavity.  If you have not been to see a dental professional in over a year please call your dental provider (dentist/denturist) for an examination; if you do not have one please contact us we would be happy to help you 905-459-7442.