The incidence of oral cancer in North America is increasing. Unlike several other cancers, the survival rate for oral cancer has remained unchanged for decades. The overall 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 52%, but when discovered early, it increases to 80% – 90%. Unfortunately, only 35% of oral cancer cases are diagnosed in the early stages. Why? Because there have been few advances made in screening techniques. Pre-malignant changes actually start below the surface, at the basement membrane. These changes may not be apparent to the naked eye until the disease progresses to the surface.
The VELscope is a device that offers a painless and non-invasive way to screen for abnormal tissue in the mouth. Without the need for stains or rinses, the examination takes only one or two minutes. The VELscope® System Handpiece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the tissue, causing it to fluoresce. The clinician is then able to immediately view the different fluorescence responses to help differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue. If abnormal tissue is observed, a biopsy is ordered to determine the exact nature of the tissue.
Early detection is the key to prevention of oral cancer.