Every hour of the day, someone dies from oral cancer. Nearly 50,000 people receive an oral cancer diagnosis each year. Statistically speaking, over half of these patients will have succumbed to this terrible disease. One of the biggest reasons that so many patients with oral cancer do not recover is late diagnosis. Identified in its early stages, oral cancer is almost entirely survivable. This is why an oral cancer exam using a Velscope is a standard part of every bi-annual visit to Elite Dental Group.
Introducing The Velscope and How It’s Saving Lives
Over 120 different severe medical conditions can produce symptoms visible in the mouth. This is another reason that a bi-annual oral exam is an essential part of your healthcare. As part of a standard exam, dentists have always checked for oral cancer. Unfortunately, earlier methods were often uncomfortable and invasive, especially when cancer was suspected.
The Velscope represents the latest in oral health diagnostic tool. High-power cameras combine with fluorescence to make it possible to identify lesions and abnormalities that may otherwise go unobserved. The Velscope makes use of a blue light tuned to a specific frequency that your oral tissues absorb. This light makes healthy tissue reflect a vibrant green color, while unhealthy tissue will remain unlit. This results in unhealthy tissue starkly standing out against the green and is easily identified.
When trouble areas are identified, it’s a cause for further testing. Modern techniques are effective, quick, and produce less discomfort for the patient. The Velscope comes with some significant benefits for patients and dentists alike:
- Health issues are easy to document
- Integrates smoothly with digital photography
- Ease tracking disease progression and warning signs
- Clear ability to identify if all unhealthy tissue has been removed
- Easily identify red patches, white patches, lesions, and (pre)cancerous tissues
- FDA-Approved for use in dental care
All of these features come together to increase the rate of survival in patients with oral cancer. It’s difficult to overstate how effective early diagnosis is in treating oral cancer. Catching it early means an increase of 80-85% in patient survival rates.
What Happens During A Velscope Exam
If you’re concerned about your upcoming Velscope exam, rest at ease. The process is completely pain-free and only takes a few minutes to complete. It begins with a visual exam of your gums, neck, teeth, lips, and cheeks using natural light. You’ll then be given some special glasses to ensure your eyes are protected from the Velscope’s blue light.
The lights will then be dimmed to help make the Velscope scan results stand out even more starkly. The scope will be moved around your mouth, highlighting different areas of your mouth while doing so. If lesions or other concerns are identified, they’ll be photographed for later referencing, and notes are taken about their location. In some circumstances, a small biopsy may be taken so it can be sent to pathology for examination. When this occurs, Dr. Hashim will speak with you about the next steps. These exams may only take a moment, but they can save your life.