Oral cancer is often referred to as the forgotten disease.
This is because oral cancer kills more people than testicular, cervical, and brain cancer each year. Despite this fact, oral cancer receives very little publicity.
Every year, over 30,000 Americans contract oral cancer, and only 57% of these people will live for more than five years without treatment.
Oral cancer should be taken seriously. So, what you should you watch out for?
Do Tobacco And Alcohol Cause Oral Cancer?
Two of the leading causes of oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol usage. With that said, while tobacco and alcohol can significantly raise your chances of contracting oral cancer, even people who do not partake of either substance can still be diagnosed with oral cancer.
In fact, 25% of people in the world diagnosed with oral cancer abstain from both tobacco and alcohol. This means, no matter your lifestyle, you should stay alert when it comes to the potential dangers of oral cancer.
What Is VELscope And How Can It Protect Me?
The very best way to stay protected from oral cancer is to get annual oral cancer screenings. The majority of dentists perform an oral cancer exam during regular dental checkups. The FDA-approved VELscope is another examination tool that dentists can use to detect oral cancer in its very earliest stages.
So how does VELscope work? The VELscope is essentially a hand-held lamp which can help detect precancerous and cancerous cells in patients’ mouths. One of the biggest difficulties in diagnosing oral cancer is that its symptoms can look very similar to the symptoms of less serious problems. The VELscope system can help dentists positively identity the earlier stages of oral cancer.
What Can I Expect During A VELscope Examination?
If you opt for a VELscope examination, you can expect the whole process to take about two to three minutes. Thankfully, this is a painless, noninvasive procedure.
Your dentist will start by performing a regular, visual examination of your lower face. This will include your glands, tongue, cheeks, palate, and teeth. You will wear protective eyewear as your dentist will next shine the blue VELscope light inside your mouth. Any lesions or other indicators of oral cancer will appear very dark under the specialized light. All healthy tissue will look green under the VELscope light.
Depending on what your dentist finds, he or she may take a biopsy there and then to determine whether what they are seeing is oral cancer or not. The individual biopsy results will then help dictate the best course of action.
Preventive care is important when it comes to oral cancer. Regular screening appointments using tools like VELscope will guarantee you are staying on top of your oral health and doing everything you can address any issues that may arise.
Get Your Questions Answered
If you have any questions at all regarding your oral health, ask a team of skilled professionals. At East Center Dental, our staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and ready to help. Don’t be afraid to ask—we’re here for you!