This is the fifth year in a row that there has been a distinct increase in the rate of occurence of Oral cancer.
There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 5 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.
When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately at this time, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 45% at five years from diagnosis.
The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Often it 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, at these later stages, the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures. Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize, and because it has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors. This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease.
In our office, we have incorporated the use of the most powerful device, Velscope Vx in the early detection of oral abnormalities and early detection of oral cancer.
Because the VELscope Vx assists in early detection, cancer can be caught before it has time to spread, potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.
The VELscope Handpiece emits a safe blue light into the mouth, which causes the tissue to appear different colours through the viewfinder. This allows the dentist to tell the difference between normal and abnormal tissue.
This is a totally painless, quick and very affordable way of
early oral cancer detection..