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Oral cancer is a malignant condition that affects the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. It is the 11th most common cancer globally, with over 450,000 new cases diagnosed each year. It can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. Despite advances in treatment, the survival rate for this disease remains low, with only about 50% of patients surviving more than five years after diagnosis. This low survival rate is primarily due to late detection and treatment.
The prevalence of it is higher in men than in women, and the risk increases with age. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are the primary risk factors for developing it. As the disease often goes unnoticed in its early stages, regular dental cancer screenings are essential for early detection and treatment.
Cancer screening is a vital part of preventive dental care. It refers to the process of examining the oral cavity for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions. The goal of a cancer screening is to identify malignant changes in the oral tissues at an early stage when the chances of successful treatment are higher.
Dentist screenings typically involves a visual and physical examination of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. During this examination, the dentist will look for abnormalities, such as sores, red or white patches, and lumps. They may also palpate the neck and jaw to check for swollen lymph nodes or any other unusual masses. In some cases, advanced screening tools like VELscope may be used to enhance the examination process.
Regular dental screenings are crucial for early detection and treatment. This cancer can develop without any noticeable symptoms in its initial stages, making it difficult to detect without a thorough examination. As the disease progresses, it becomes more invasive and harder to treat, leading to a poorer prognosis.
By undergoing routine dental cancer screenings, you increase the chances of detecting any malignant changes early on, when they are still highly treatable. Early detection can significantly improve treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of complications. Moreover, regular screenings can help identify precancerous conditions, which can be treated or monitored to prevent them from progressing into cancer.
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VELscope is an advanced screening device that uses blue light oral-cancer-screening technology to enhance the detection of abnormalities in oral tissues. This revolutionary tool has been proven to detect cancer and precancerous lesions earlier than traditional examination methods.
The VELscope system uses a handheld device that emits a safe, high-energy blue light. When this light is shined into the oral cavity, it causes the healthy tissues to fluoresce in a specific pattern, while unhealthy or abnormal tissues appear dark or irregular. This contrast allows Dr. McVey to quickly and accurately identify areas of concern that may require further investigation.
The blue light used in oral screening for cancer is safe and non-invasive. The procedure is painless and requires no preparation or anesthesia. Dr. McVey will simply shine the blue light into your mouth and observe any changes in tissue fluorescence. If any suspicious areas are detected, he may suggest further testing or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
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The oral screening procedure using VELscope is quick, painless, and non-invasive. Here’s what you can expect during your VELscope examination:
The VELscope price varies depending on the dental practice and location, at our office the cost for this examination is $11. Considering the potential benefits of early detection and improved treatment outcomes, many patients find the VELscope screening to be a worthwhile investment in their oral health. By detecting cancer in its earliest stages, VELscope can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and reduce the risk of complications, making it an invaluable tool in the fight against it.
While regular dentist screenings are crucial, it’s also essential to be aware of the common signs of cancer and monitor your oral health between dental visits. Some of the most common symptoms include:
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to schedule an appointment in our office for a thorough examination and screenings.
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Understanding the risk factors can help you make informed decisions about your lifestyle choices and prioritize regular dental screenings. Some of the most common risk factors include:
By addressing these risk factors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk.
Oral cancer is a serious condition that requires early detection and treatment for the best possible outcomes. By prioritizing regular dentist screenings, you can stay proactive about your oral health and increase your chances of detecting any abnormalities at an early stage.
The use of advanced screening tools like VELscope has revolutionized the process of screening, providing better accuracy, early detection, and non-invasive examination methods.
If you have concerns about your oral health or are at a higher risk, call our office or go to our website to book an appointment for an examination.
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