Oral cancer is nothing to be wished for. However, it happens to some people. It should interest you to know that oral cancer falls into the group of head and neck cancers, one of the 10 most common cancers in the world. If anything, many who develop the condition would wish that they had gone for oral cancer screening near you earlier. In this article, we will review the use of velscope in the early detection of oral cancer.
Velscope may also be referred to as the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. It is a means of viewing epithelial cells via fluorescence (blue light with a wavelength around 400-460nm). How does it work? The epithelial cells absorb this blue light and this highlights changes in the structure and composition of the tissues. One thing about cancers is the alteration of the tissue morphology and composition. Velscope helps to detect these changes in the mouth. What’s more? It’s fast, painless, and non-invasive. However, it’s no replacement for the definitive method of diagnosis of oral cancer- cell biopsy. Even then, you should agree that a harmless investigation like this trumps scraping cells out of the mouth every single time for screening.
If you’ve ever seen an emergency dentist in Englewood for regular oral screening, you may know that the usual cancer check involves checking for black, white, and red spots in the mouth. Velscope is a big step forward that uses blue light to display deep tissues in the mouth. When these cells absorb the blue light, they emit their light in shades of green, yellow, and red. This is visible to the naked human eye, and our dentist at 34223 can easily distinguish between normal and suspicious tissue.
Now, if the dentist detects abnormal tissue, does that automatically mean oral cancer? NO. As we said earlier, oral biopsy remains the gold standard. Velscope helps to detect pre-cancerous changes in the tissues. Cancer develops over time. The cancerous cells have to grow through some period of disordered cell development. Early detection means that these changes can be halted before maturation. Moreover, abnormal fluorescence may point to other things. Increased metabolic activities in oral tissue may be responsible for abnormal fluorescence. The same goes for an increase in blood flow in the region being viewed due to the presence of hemoglobin that strongly absorbs fluorescence. An infection/inflammation may be the reason for increased blood flow.
Oral surgeons have also found some use for Velscope as it helps them determine the appropriate extent of surgical excision during theater procedures.
The WHO (World Health Organization) says that Velscope is a delightful invention for a world health concern that is “likely to be accessible, appropriate and affordable for use in low- and middle-income countries.”
Many professional dentists worldwide also agree that Velscope has helped them send a few more patients for biopsy. The consensus remains that negative results are much better than missed cancers.
People 40 years or older have a greater risk of developing cancer. Also, a family history of cancer increases susceptibility and regular screening is the best preventive measure in this case. A professional dentist near you, Dr. C Romesh Weerasooriya can help with that. You should also know that it affects twice more men than women. Of course, these are non-modifiable risk factors, hence the need for screening efforts. Early detection has shown a survival rate of more than 80%, a huge leap from the 30% that late detection offers.
There are factors within our control that contribute to oral cancer. The biggest ones are smoking, followed by alcohol. Feel free to see us at the dental office in Englewood for oral cancer screening.