The diagnosis of mouth and/or oral cancer can be devastating. At our offices, we work hard to ensure that any signs or symptoms of cancer are detected as soon as possible. However, it is up to you to come in to see us every six months for screenings.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Mouth cancer is a type of malignant growth that can occur on virtually any surface in the mouth. This includes the lips, tongue and the throat. The fact is, this is a very serious health condition:
- Mouth cancer is more deadly than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanomas.
- The mortality rate is over 50 per cent, despite any treatment.
- In the UK, about 1700 people die annually from this form of cancer.
The problem is that it is often detected very late in its development, which makes treatment difficult.
How Can I Catch It Early?
One of the steps you can take is to have regular dental check-ups to ensure that if mouth cancer is present, we catch it early. One of the tools we have to help with this is called the VELscope. This device, which is a hand-held monitor, allows us to examine the entire mouth and structures to spot any development of oral cancer. It picks up on the tissue fluorescence that occurs when any abnormalities are present.
What Happens During Screening?
The procedure is painless and fast. In short, we will hold the VELscope in our hand as we scan the interior of your mouth. It emits a blue light into your mouth to excite the tissues present. This causes the fluorescence we are looking for. Your dentist can tell right away if there are any abnormal changes.
Then What Happens?
If you do have any presence of mouth cancer, we will provide you advice on treatment. You may need to see a medical doctor for further testing. The key is to detect it early. We also encourage our patients to take steps to prevent it from developing. This includes not smoking.
Schedule a consultation today to discuss the potential presence of mouth cancer. Though we hope not to find it, our simple scan can provide the answers you need.