VELscope Oral Cancer Screening
In the U.S. oral cancer kills one person every hour. Most people don't know they have oral cancer until it's too late, which is why early detection is imperative. Oral cancer is diagnosed in over 480,000 people every year; 35,000 in the U.S. alone. Detecting oral cancer at the beginning stages is key to a patient's survival. A patient's five year survival rate is 80-90% greater when oral cancer is diagnosed and treated early.
What are the risk factors for oral cancer?
- Habitual use of tobacco such as chewing tobacco, cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
- Drinking alcohol in excess.
- A history of oral cancer (or other types of cancer) in your family.
- Prolonged sun exposure at an early age.
- Being diagnosed with HPV (human pappiloma virus).
Typically men over the age of 50 are most at risk for oral cancer. However, recently the number of woman being diagnosed with oral cancer has increased because of the human papilloma virus. Studies have found a link between oral cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV-16). HPV is known to be the source of cancers in the back of the throat, mainly at the base of the tongue and tonsils. They are called oropharyngeal cancers.
How does VELscope work?
The VELscope screening system helps your doctor take a close look at the tissues inside your mouth, with the use of a distinctive white light source and viewing scope. It helps identify normal and abnormal tissue. Tissue that is normal will give off a bright green color. Tissue that is abnormal shows up much darker.
If your screening turns out abnormal, don't worry, it may not mean you have cancer. A second screening can be done to see if the dark spots may have disappeared. Another option is for your doctor to perform a simple brush biopsy to ensure there is no cancer.
Dr. Rendon performs an oral cancer screening on his hygiene patients once a year. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.