Advanced Oral Cancer Screenings with VelScope Technology
VELscope utilizes the natural fluorescence of healthy mucosal tissue. When healthy tissue is exposed to the blue light from the VELscope, it fluoresces bright green as seen through the VELscope eyepiece. Abnormal tissue does not fluoresce and appears black. The VELscope unit checks both the surface that we can see with the naked eye, as well as deeper tissue layers that cannot be seen with visual examination.
If found early (VELscope), oral cancer’s 5-year survival rate is 80-85%. Found late (traditional visual exam), the survival rate is reduced to 50%. Early cellular changes are non-detectable to the human eye (even with magnification) under standard lighting conditions. When a lesion does become visible to the naked eye, it has already advanced to invasive carcinoma stages.
Despite the decline in tobacco usage, oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose incidence rate has not improved in the past 50 years. In addition, the percentage of younger people with oral cancer has increased over time. This is due to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and it’s link to oral cancer. HPV-16 is the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer, ranking even higher than tobacco. 60% of all oropharyngeal cancers are related to HPV. About 20 million Americans currently have an HPV infection, which means that many of the patients we see every day are at an increased risk for oropharyngeal cancer.
Please speak with Dr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Adamson, Dr. Weldon or any of our clinical staff regarding your questions and the benefits of utilizing this early cancer detection technology.