For a dentist, diagnosing oral cancer would include the assessment of growths inside the mouth, cheeks and tongue. Like other cancers, age is a risk factor with oral cancer (most people are 50+). Unfortunately, the national statistics for oral cancer are somewhat shocking. Worse still, delayed diagnosis is one of the main reasons for less-than-positive outcomes (including mortality).
Tobacco use is clearly a major risk factor with oral cancer, and this is true for all ages. Tobacco users younger than age 40 are considered high risk. Statistically, the highest risk patients are 40+ who make use of tobacco and/or alcohol regularly. Finally, patients with oral cancer in the family history need to be extra attentive. Remarkably, 25% of oral cancer patients had no risk factors.
Today, the VELscope® Enhanced Oral Assessment System allows dentists to undertake patient exams as part of a cancer screening program. VELscope® is a complementary assessment to the conventional visual exam, which has become indispensable as an early and accurate diagnostic approach. Best of all for the patient, the VELscope® exam takes only a few short minutes.
As new dental technology advances, the VELscope® system has really changed the options for oral cancer screening. This high-tech device emits a harmless bluish light that allows a dentist to inspect and assess the oral cavity. The blue light causes the soft tissue inside the mouth to clearly fluoresce - healthy tissue will fluoresce differently than tissue with apparent physical change.
While a surgical biopsy is considered to be the highest standard of diagnosis with oral cancer, it’s the VELscope® system that can be integral to early detection/diagnosis. After all, early diagnosis is vital with most every health issue. When it comes to oral cancer, early detection and accurate diagnosis in the dentist office is key to early patient treatment, and eventual treatment success.
Dentists currently using the VELscope® device are effectively supplementing the traditional oral exam so as to better visualize abnormal oral tissue (cancerous or pre-cancerous). In this way, a routine dental exam can be far more thorough, and suspicious areas in the mouth can be better investigated for any oral disease. VELscope® has become an indispensable tool for many.
At the Mackenzie Dental Centre, Dr. Lloyd Pedvis uses the VELscope® system as an adjunct to the routine visual inspection. The bottom line for patients - dental examinations are more thorough, and the mouth can be better assessed. For the Mackenzie team, it’s about a preventive approach to oral care, with a specific focus on early diagnosis, whatever the nature of the condition.
When it comes to oral cancer, successful treatment and patient survival rely heavily on the early detection and diagnosis of the condition. Unfortunately, there are cases of oral cancer that are simply discovered too late. The benefit of the VELscope® system, is that dentists and hygienists are now equipped with an additional diagnostic tool for patient care. And for the Mackenzie team, every resource and treatment offers better dental care for patients.