Oral cancer, or oral cavity cancer, can develop as sores or growths that invade and cause damage to the tissues inside the mouth. According to the American Cancer Society, about 53,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer annually. Cases range from mild to severe and can often go undiagnosed.
Fortunately, our team is experienced in treatments for gum disease and offers screenings to detect early signs of oral cancer. VELscope® is an FDA-approved, state-of-the-art cancer screening tool that uses that utilizes a safe, high-energy light and specialized filters to detect abnormalities in their early stages before they become life-threatening concerns.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can develop in several parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, gums, floor and roof of the mouth, throat, and inner lining of the cheeks. Oral cancer is said to kill one person every hour, 24 hours a day, in North America alone. It is also the sixth leading cancer among men and one of the few diseases that is increasing among young adults. Many experts have surmised that one primary cause of oral cancer is exposure to the human papillomavirus virus (HPV). Most patients are not aware of the potential risks. However, when detected early enough, the survival rate is very high.
Early signs of oral cancer were predominantly seen among smokers, but now are appearing in patients of all ages. Although smoking is still the leading cause of oral cancer, other criteria such as age, genetics, poor oral hygiene, and alcohol consumption can also cause you to develop this condition. You may be in need of oral cancer screening if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Swelling, eroded areas, or white or red patches inside the mouth
- Unexplained, excessive oral bleeding
- Sensitivity of the face, mouth, or neck
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the tongue
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal
- Ear pain
- Persistent pain in the mouth
Your Oral Cancer Screening
Like many other cancers, early detection of oral cancer is the key to increasing your likelihood of survival. Studies have shown that in cases where oral cancer is detected in its early stages, the chance for a patient’s survival climbs to 90 percent. Your dentist conducts oral cancer screening during your annual oral examination using VELscope®. By detecting potential problems earlier, he can provide patients with the best oral health care currently available.
How VELscope® Works
VELscope® is a non-invasive, painless procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform. It accurately identifies tissue changes at, and below, the oral mucosal surface before they become apparent under traditional white light examination. Your dentist will shine a blue light into your mouth that will cause any tissue abnormalities to fluoresce. If any issues are detected, your dentist will suggest you seek treatment immediately.
The cost of your examination will vary based on surgical fees and your insurance company. Your dental insurance provider may or may not cover the cost of your oral cancer screening.
For more information regarding VELscope®, visit www.velscope.com or call Dr. Fedin at (312) 951-5230 with your questions and schedule a consultation with him today!