Oral Cancer Screening
More than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal (throat) cancer annually, resulting in almost 8,000 deaths. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that for cancer of the cervix, brain, liver, testes, kidney and ovaries, Hodgkin’s disease, and malignant melanoma (skin cancer). Awareness of the risk factors and early symptoms of oral cancer help to ensure patient health. Oral cancer can affect any age, race, ethnicity and gender.
Here at Dr. Maria-Dolores Hayeck we strive to make your oral health our priority using the latest technology in detecting oral cancer. Velscope allows the doctor to detect any abnormalities at any early stage.
Risks Factors For Oral Cancer
Research shows strong links between tobacco use and oral cancer. At least 75 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer have either smoked or chewed tobacco. Excessive alcohol usage is also a risk factor, making individuals who abuse both tobacco and alcohol particularly susceptible. Other risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Certain strains of human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Eating a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables
- Poor oral hygiene
- Ill-fitting dentures
Age is also a risk factor, since most people are over the age of 40 when they are diagnosed with oral cancer.
HPV16 viral infection. Increasing numbers of young, non-smoking individuals are being diagnosed with oral cancer. The causative factor is persistent HPV16 viral infection, the same virus responsible for more than 95% of all cervical cancer. While testing for the virus at the time of cervical examinations and PAP smears is becoming more common, individuals carrying this virus are not likely to know that they have it, as there are no outward symptoms.
Symptoms Of Oral Cancer
Symptoms of oral cancer may be observed upon careful examination. The sooner they are detected and treated, the better. The following may be symptoms of oral cancer and should be reported to the dentist upon discovery.
- White or red patches of tissue in the mouth
- Small ulcers that may look like canker sores
- Lumps or masses inside the mouth or neck
- Wart-like masses on the oral or facial region
- Hoarseness that lasts for a significant period
Hoarseness that persists for a significant period of time, sores that do not heal within 14 days, or pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking or chewing should also be reported to the dentist.
In the early stages of oral cancer’s development, it often is painless, and the physical signs may not be obvious. This makes it a very dangerous disease. Regular screenings by a qualified medical or dental professional, combined with a person’s knowledge of the warning signs and symptoms, will allow its discovery in the earliest possible stages, when cure and survival are most likely. Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can often be detected by a trained professional.
- Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissue of the mouth.
- Any sore which does not heal within 14 days.
- Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time.
- A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
- Numbness in the oral region.
- Difficulty in moving the muscles of the mouth, lips and tongue.
- Difficulty in 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.
Examinations For Oral Cancer
Part of a comprehensive dental examination is an examination of the lips, tongue, inner cheeks and upper and lower palates. The dentist looks for an abnormalities that may be first indicators of a malignancy. Patients should also perform examinations of their own mouths. Examinations for oral cancer should include:
- Removing any dentures
- Looking at and feeling the inside of the lips and the front of the gums
- Tilting the head back to look at and feel the roof of the mouth
- Pulling out the cheek to examine its inner surface
- Looking at the back gums
- Pulling out the tongue and looking at all of its surfaces
- Feeling the neck and under the lower jaw for lumps
Oral Cancer and Oral Disease
The VELscope Vx helps us identify oral disease early, while it’s still easy to treat.
One of the VELscope’s most important tasks is to help locate areas that might, if not treated, progress to oral cancer.
- Found early, oral cancer’s 5-year survival rate is good: approx. 83%
- Found late, oral cancer’s 5-year survival rate is poor: approx. 32%
- Clearly, finding oral cancer in its early stages is key to survival
- The VELscope Vx offers hope for the early discovery of oral disease, including precancer and cancer.
Tobacco and chewing tobacco, along with alcohol, are the leading causes of oral cancer.
Over the last four decades, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), known for its role in cervical cancer, has been showing up in increasing numbers of oral cancer cases.
VELscope Vx -For Early Discovery of Oral Abnormalities
- Helps dental professionals find oral mucosal abnormalities, including oral cancer
- Over 10,000,000 examinations performed
- Recognized by the World Health Organization
- The most powerful tool available for assisting in the discovery of oral abnormalities
The VELscope Vx exam: quick, painless, effective.
Why use the VELscope Vx?
- The VELscope’s blue light stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of your mouth
- Natural fluorescence, seen through the VELscope Vx, allows dental professionals to see disease not visible with the naked eye
- The VELscope Vx helps us discover oral disease BEFORE it can be seen under ordinary light
Oral disease becomes plainly visible through the VELscope Vx.