Oral Cancer Awareness and Early Detection

April is Oral Cancer Awareness month, and we are offering free VELscope® oral cancer screenings to every patient that gets their teeth cleaned during April. Many patients refuse the additional VELscope® oral cancer screening offered by their hygienist. Most insurance companies do not provide coverage for it and it costs around $50.

A multitude of head and neck cancers begin in the oral cavity, which includes your lips, tongue, gums, lining inside the cheeks and lips, and the bony top of the mouth.  Cancer found in its early stages is the most treatable, thus early diagnosis is important.

Your annual check up includes visually examining your head, neck, face and mouth for any masses, lesions, swelling, or any facial asymmetry. In your mouth, we look for both red and white lesions on the mucous membrane, as well any masses with in the tissues. We examine your tongue for ulcers, swellings or other abnormalities, in addition to examining the inside of the back of your throat with a laryngeal mirror.

The additional oral cancer screening offered is the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System.  It is a handheld scope that provides a more thorough tissue examination than a visual exam.  It uses natural tissue fluorescence to illuminate dysplastic or keratinized tissue. In other words, it helps visually detect tissue abnormalities or tissue that has changed that may not be noticeable in a visual exam.

The best strategy in the fight against cancer is early detection. The VELscope® Vx is a widely used adjunctive device for the enhanced visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer or pre-malignant dysplasia.  It makes abnormalities that might not seen by the naked eye visible, thus it is a helpful tool in early detection.

When we find tissue abnormalities, the patient is immediately referred to a specialist for evaluation. While $50 may seem like an unnecessary out-of-pocket expense for a  VELscope® Vx oral cancer screening, how much is your peace of mind worth?

If you have lifestyle (excessive tobacco and/or alcohol consumption) or genetic contributing factors, HPV (human papillomavirus), or a prior head or neck malignancy that could increase your likelihood of developing oral cancer, you should elect to have an annual VELscope® Vx oral cancer screening. Being proactive is essential to early detection and diagnosis.

Additional information regarding VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System can be found at http://www.velscope.com/.

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