Oral Cancer Detection
Las Vegas & Henderson NV
Can Oral Cancer Be Detected Early? While difficult it can be possible. Detection relies upon a well trained dentist who has tools that can help the diagnose abnormal tissue and precancerous lesions during regular oral cancer screenings. One important oral cancer screening tool is called the Velscope. This is an enhanced oral assessement tool.
The Velscope oral cancer VELscope light technology uses fluorescence of the oral cavity tissues to allow for early detection of changes of the oral tissues in a non-evasive manner. This gives your dentist an extra view into your tissues beyond a thorough head and neck examination (checking for swollen lymph nodes). These examination should be performed routinely at your dental visits to maintain optimal oral health.
The VELscope technology does not have the ability to diagnose oral cancer by itself, but is used for additional information along with a thorough head and neck examination by your dentist.
The VELscope will not determine whether or not the change in oral tissues is cancerous. It simply cannot replace a surgical biopsy. It simply aids in finding abnormalities not visible to the naked eye that may require further examination. Your oral health and longevity depend on it.
VELscope Can Save Lives
Over 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cancer this year alone. It will cause almost 10,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day for the entire year. Of those 50,000 or so newly diagnosed oral cancer cases, about 57% will be alive in 5 years.
The death rate of oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we routinely hear about such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, testicular cancer, and many others.
The death rate for oral cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to this type of cancer being routinely discovered in its later stages. In many cases oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck.
Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures.
How often should I have an oral cancer screening?
We recommend seeing Dr. Perrone at her Las Vegas, NV, area dentist office at least twice a year. At every dental examination, she will complete a thorough oral cancer screening. If you note any changes, please let us know.
“I personally never charge anything extra for use of the VELscope system. It is too important a tool to not use it on every patient that undergoes treatment in my office. When it comes to possibly saving lives I feel we should provide the highest level of care along with the latest technology to do the job. VELscope is that tool.“
- Marielaina Perrone DDS
Risk Factors Of Oral Cancer
-HPV (human papilloma virus): Contact with HPV 16 (a sexually transmitted disease) has been found to be linked to certain oral cancers.-Age: Oral cancer risk increases with age; It is predominantly seen in people 40 and over.
-Tobacco: Major risk factor of oral cancer. Majority of cases are associated with some form of tobacco use (including chewing tobacco).
-Alcohol: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of oral cancer and those risks are even greater with combined use of alcohol and cigarettes.
-Diet: A diet that lacks proper nutrition such as vegetables and fruits can increase the risk factor of oral cancer (as well as other types of cancer).
-A persistent sore throat that does not get better over time.
-Increased difficulty swallowing.
-Increased difficulty chewing.
-Lump in lining of mouth.
-White or reddish patch inside mouth (cheek lining, soft palate) or on the lips.
-Pain in the Jaws.
-Tongue pain or numbness.
-A feeling that something is caught in your throat (even though nothing is there).
Marielaina Perrone DDS will look for warning signs of abnormal tissue. Typically, she will look for visible symptoms first. This will include red and white bumps, hard lumps, rough patches, or changes in the position of your teeth.
She will also feel your cheeks and the inside of your mouth. This is to identify the presence of any strange or hard lumps within the oral tissue. Oral cancer can impact any area of the mouth.
Next, she will use the Velscope and examine your oral tissues again, attempting to see what the naked eye cannot.