Oral Cancer Screening in Orlando
The majority of dentists perform an oral cancer screening during routine dental visits. This examination will identify cancer or precancerous lesions in a patient’s mouth.
What is The Purpose of an Oral Cancer Screening?
The purpose of oral cancer screening is to identify the disease in the early stages, which is crucial to the survival rate. Each year in America, thousands of new oral cancer cases are diagnosed. The five-year survival rate of all oral cancer cases is approximately 50 percent. Oral cancer screening is appropriate for all patients, especially those who are at high risk. Some of the risk factors are:
Tobacco use: cigarettes and other tobacco products
Alcohol: drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Age: most oral cancer patients are age 45 and older
Sun exposure: excessive exposure to sunlight
Limitations of Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings have some limitations; these include:
The need for additional testing: an oral exam can identify sores in the mouth, however, further testing will be required to definitively determine if they are cancerous. The dentist will perform a biopsy; this procedure involves the removal of abnormal cells which are tested for cancer.
Inability to identify all mouth cancers: It is always possible for a cancer or precancerous lesion to go undiagnosed.
Yet to be proven to save lives: there is no evidence that proves oral cancer screenings lower the number of death’s caused by this disease. With that said, oral cancer screening can detect cancers in its earlier stages when it is easier and less invasive to treat.
What To Expect
Oral cancer screening is generally completed during regular dental check-ups and there is no special preparation required. During the exam, the dentist will check the patient’s mouth for red or white patches or mouth sores. The dentist will use gloves to feel the tissues in the patient’s mouth for lumps or other irregularities.
Special oral cancer screening tests are performed by some dentists. These include:
Mouth rinse: oral lesions absorb the dye known as toluidine blue.
Auto-fluorescence light: healthy tissues will appear dark and abnormal tissues will appear white.
A dentist will recommend the following if signs of mouth cancer or precancerous conditions are discovered:
A follow-up appointment: the dentist will ask the patient to return after two weeks to see if the abnormal area is still present or has changed at all.
A biopsy: a dentist or specialist will remove a sample of cells and test them for cancer.
VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment
The VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System is an adjunctive device used by clinicians to help visualize abnormal oral tissues that are not apparent or even visible to the naked eye alone.
The award-winning VELscope® Vx is recognized by the World Health Organization. It is the world’s most widely used adjunctive device for the enhanced visualization of potential cancerous or pre-cancerous tissues.
The VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System is backed by more clinical studies than any other adjunctive device for tissue fluorescence visualization. Over 25 million VELscope® Vx examinations have been performed by more than 15,000 dental practitioners in 23 different countries.