Did you know that oral cancer steals the life of one American every hour? We don’t hear much about oral cancer, but 34,000 patients were diagnosed in 2007. Only half of patients diagnosed with oral cancer will survive longer than five years. Because it is often detected in the later stages, oral cancer’s mortality rate is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, brain, liver, kidney, or ovarian cancer. Treatment for oral cancer often causes disfiguration and lessens the patient’s quality of life.
Quick & Painless Oral Cancer Screening
Thanks to an amazing new technology, VELscope, dentists and hygienists can quickly and painlessly screen for oral cancer. VELscope is a fluorescence-based identification system that detects tissue abnormalities and is used in combination with traditional visual exams.
All adults should have an annual VELscope exam because a quarter of oral cancer victims are non-smokers, don’t drink, and have no lifestyle factors to heighten their oral cancer risk. Men over 40 and women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most prone to the disease. Patients with lifestyle risks, including any tobacco use, daily alcohol consumption, viral infections, autoimmune deficiencies like HIV, and diabetes may need more frequent evaluations.
The screening involves use of a special light to illuminate abnormal cells so that they appear distinctly different from the surrounding normal tissue.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening with Dr. Clary
Chances are you don’t have oral cancer, but wouldn’t it be nice to be sure? While the statistics on oral cancer are discouraging, the disease has an 80 to 90-percent cure rate when discovered and treated in the early stages. Ask your dentist in our Ames location about whether you could benefit from a VELscope oral cancer screening.