The doctor aims the device toward your mouth. It’s almost like something out of a science fiction movie.
“This won’t hurt a bit,” he tells you.
You open your mouth, and he aims the device inside. There is some kind of light coming from the device. The doctor is looking around. He looks carefully and seriously. When he’s done, he only has one thing to say.
“Everything looks good,” he tells you.
Is this a scene from a science fiction movie? Nope, it’s an oral cancer screening with the VELscope. It’s part of our general dentistry at the office of George A. Hoop, DDS. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to remind you that we do these kinds of screenings for our patients in and around Naples and Fort Myers, FL.
If you haven’t scheduled your next dental checkup yet, please call 239-734-7737 today.
Facts About Oral Cancer
On an average day in the United States, more than 130 people are diagnosed with cancer of the mouth or throat. Roughly 1 person dies every hour from this disease.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Early detection of oral cancer can make a big difference in survival rates.
The five-year survival rate for patients whose oral cancer was found in the late stages is 57 percent. In contrast, 80 to 90 percent of patients survive when their oral cancer is found early.
This is why we conduct oral cancer screenings, and why we use the VELscope, at our offices. We hope none of our patients ever have this disease, but we would much rather find it early if you do.
That’s why you also should know what signs to look for on your own:
- Patches of red or white tissue inside your mouth
- Numbness or tenderness on the lips or the soft tissues of the mouth
- Sores that don’t seem to heal
- Spots that feel like they have become thicker or rougher
- Changes in how your teeth fit with one another
- Problems with chewing, speaking, and swallowing
If you notice these symptoms, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your family doctor. As the statistics mentioned earlier show, it’s much better to get tested and treated early.
For more information, the Oral Cancer Foundation is a great resource for information about this disease.
How The VELscope Works
We can see many things with our eyes, but we can’t see everything. The VELscope allows us to detect suspicious spots sooner.
The VELscope works by shining a fluorescent light on the soft tissues of your mouth. The way this light is reflected can reveal potential problems that would not be visible to the naked eye.
Research has shown a high correlation between those abnormal tissues and biopsy results, proving the VELscope is a valuable tool in detecting oral cancer early.