Oral Cancer Screening with VELscope
Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and for most people, there is nothing more frightening than getting the news you have cancer. Even though oral cancer may not be as common as other types of cancer such as breast, lung and skin cancer, it does affect over 640,000 people worldwide each year and will cause over 8,000 deaths annually—that is one every hour, 24 hours a day.
According to information provided by the Mayo Clinic, in the past thirty years, there has been a 60% increase in oral cancer in adults under the age of forty, and approximately half of all people diagnosed with oral cancer will die within five years. But if oral cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate can be as high as 81%. Dr. Angela E. Mulrooney has an exciting new piece of technology that can save lives—the VELscope (www.velscope.com).
Dentists all over the world are purchasing this amazing piece of equipment to help diagnose oral cancer in its early stages. Dr. Mulrooney has purchased the VELscope, which allows us to find early signs of oral cancer that cannot be detected with the naked eye. As you can see by the information above, getting an early diagnosis greatly improves your chances of fighting this aggressive disease. If you are an adult, you should consider being examined; the earlier we find abnormal cells in your mouth, the sooner you can receive treatment. If you would like to be screened for oral cancer, please contact Dr. Mulrooney today to schedule a new patient oral health examination.
How Does the VELscope Work?
Advances in cosmetic dentistry allow us to provide beautiful, sparkling smiles to our patients using modern technology and procedures, but we cannot forget that oral health is the most important part of dentistry. If you don’t have good oral health, then you can’t really enjoy a dazzling, white smile. After a 1-2 minute examination using our VELscope, we can determine if you show early signs of oral cancer. If a biopsy is necessary, we will remove a tiny portion of the abnormal-looking tissue and send it to a pathologist for examination. The VELscope is an amazing piece of machinery that is saving lives here and all over the world.
The VELscope is a handheld instrument that emits a safe, high-energy blue light, which stimulates the tissues beneath the surface down to the basement membrane. As the tissues return to normal energy levels, the tissues re-emit the absorbed energy in the form of fluorescence. Our dentist can view the different fluorescence patterns the VELscope shows and then can then differentiate normal from abnormal cells. Healthy oral tissue shows up green; abnormal suspicious tissue may cause a loss of fluorescence and appear dark. The VELscope is used in combination with Dr. Mulrooney’s expertly trained eyes; the VELscope is especially useful because it can detect tissue abnormalities that the naked eye alone cannot.
Are You At Risk for Oral Cancer?
If you are over the age of forty or if you face any of the three risk factors for oral cancer listed below, you should contact Dr. Mulrooney right away to schedule a VELscope evaluation:
• Alcohol and tobacco use (75% of new oral cancer patients are tobacco users. Individuals who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes are 15 times more likely to develop oral cancer.)
• HPV (Certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus—16 and 18—put you at risk for oral cancer.)
• Diet (Studies have shown that a diet low in fruits and vegetables can be a risk factor for oral cancer.)
Even if you are not at risk for oral cancer, you should still be screened using VELscope. If the test takes less than three minutes and causes no discomfort whatsoever, why not schedule an appointment to have your mouth screened for cancer? VELscope makes it possible to detect oral cancer early, which has been proven to save lives.
If you live in or around Calgary, please contact Dr. Angela E. Mulrooney today to schedule your VELscope examination.