Oral cancer is a disease that kills more people nationwide than either melanoma (skin cancer) or cervical cancer. Only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years. However, the good news about oral cancer is that it is now easier than ever to detect early-when the opportunity for a cure is great.Oral cancer starts as a tiny, unnoticed, white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth. Oral cancer occurs most often in those who use tobacco, in any form and those who consume large amounts of alcohol. However 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors.Regular dental checkups are essential, which include an examination of the entire mouth, in the early detection of oral cancer.
If the dentist notices a sore with a likely cause we may treat it and ask you to return for reexamination or perform a biopsy test. This is a simple test which is usually painless and can detect potentially dangerous cells when the disease is still at an early stage.
It is important to see your dentist regularly so that any oral spot or sore can be promptly evaluated.
VELscope Cancer Screen
The FDA-approved VELscope Cancer Screen is a revolutionary hand-held device that dentists can use to aid in early oral cancer detection. The VELscope examination is a non-invasive, painless procedure that takes only a few minutes. The dentist shines a blue light into the mouth to cause it to fluoresce. This fluorescence helps the dentist visualize abnormal tissue, which may be or may lead to oral cancer.