VELscope Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a broad term for various cancers that affect the oral and oropharyngeal region. Structures affected by oral cancer include lips, tongue, inside of the cheeks, hard and soft palate, sinuses, pharynx, and tonsils. At Town Centre Dental, we perform oral cancer screenings with VELscope technology during routine dental appointments. The VELscope Enhanced Oral Assessment System uses a special rinse and a handheld scope to emit a certain type of light that can better show abnormalities. In fact, the rinse causes cancerous or precancerous tissues to glow under the light. This reduces the number of false positives or false negatives, decreases the amount of necessary biopsies, and increases the accurate detection of oral cancer in the early stages.
Did you know…
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancer is on the rise. In fact, the foundation anticipates that approximately 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get an oral cancer screening?
Yes, everyone should get an oral cancer screening regardless of their current oral health. Ideally, you should have an oral cancer screening at least once every six months during your semi-annual dental exam. Having a VELscope oral cancer screening can allow your North Vancouver dentist to identify possible cases of oral cancer early on. The early detection of oral cancer is ideal for the best treatment outcomes.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
Symptoms of oral cancer can include any of the following:
- Soreness or a feeling something is lodged in the back of the throat
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- Change in bite or alignment
- Ear pain
- Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or vocal changes
- Persistent sores that bleed easily and do not heal
- Problems such as swelling, lumps, bumps, rough spots, thickening, crusts, or eroded areas on soft tissues like lips, gums, or the inside of the cheeks
- Facial, neck, or mouth pain
- Facial, neck, or mouth numbness
- Weight loss
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue and jaw
If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should schedule an oral cancer screening with your North Vancouver Dentist immediately.
What can I expect when having an oral cancer screening at Town Centre Dental?
Oral cancer screenings performed by your North Vancouver dentist are non-invasive and should not cause you any discomfort. First, you will be instructed to rinse your mouth and the back of your throat with a special mouth rinse. Then, your North Vancouver dentist will shine the fluorescent VELscope light into your mouth to look for signs of glowing tissue that signify cancerous or precancerous tissue.
What can I expect after my oral cancer screening?
Once your screening is complete, your dentist will discuss their findings with you. If your results were negative for oral cancer, then you will simply need to follow up for another screening in six months. If your results are positive, your North Vancouver Dentist may refer you to seek medical treatment. In most cases, oral cancer is treated with radiation therapy, as well as chemotherapy. Cancerous tissue may also be surgically removed.