Healthy Smiles Dental in Lancaster PA offers VELscope Vx advanced technology to screen for oral cancer
Lancaster dentist Dr. Matthew Kingston offers VELscope Vx technology to aid in the early detection of oral cancer and other tissue abnormalities that may not be apparent in a routine visual exam. Early detection and treatment significantly improves the survival rates for oral cancer.
Who Should be Screened for Oral Cancer?
The National Institutes for Health's SEER data estimated that nearly 40,000 Americans would be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2011, and 8,000 would die from it. Men are more than twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with oral cancer.
Oral cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect. It is typically discovered in a late stage, when the cancer may already have metastasized, giving the patient a 5-year survival rate around 30%, according to SEER data. If discovered in early stages when the cancer is still localized, the survival rate leaps to 80-to-90%. Early detection can help reduce not only the mortality rate, but the degree of invasiveness and disfigurement resulting from treatment.
Since some oral cancers are now known to be linked to exposure to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), many health experts advise everyone 18-years old and older to get an oral cancer exam on at least an annual basis.
What is VELscope Vx?
The VELscope system was developed as the culmination of a $50 million research project funded by the National Institutes of Health and others, conducted at prestigious institutions such as the University of Texas's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Healthy Smiles Dental uses the second generation VELscope Vx system, approved by the FDA in 2010, which features a cordless design and updated optics technology.
Using VELscope Vx, Dr. Kingston is able to detect tissue abnormalities which may be oral cancer much earlier. If the initial screening warrants concern, Dr. Kingston is trained to perform a painless brush tissue biopsy to confirm or reject a diagnosis of oral cancer.
In addition, the VELscope Vx helps Dr. Kingston spot precancerous lesions and other common types of oral mucosal disease, such as viral, bacterial or fungal infections, inflammation from a variety of causes (e.g. trauma), and even salivary gland tumors.
How does VELscope Vx work?
The VELscope Vx shines a safe, blue light into your mouth which causes natural tissue fluorescence. When viewed by Dr. Kingston through the Vx's patented filters, abnormal tissue typically appears as an irregular, dark area that stands out against the otherwise normal, green fluorescence pattern of surrounding healthy tissue.
The procedure is completely safe. It emits no radiation, is non-invasive and pain-free.
How is it Different from the Complimentary Oral Cancer Screening?
Dr. Kingston performs a complimentary visual oral cancer evaluation during your initial visit and each time you have a check-up, but finding oral cancer in an early stage, before it has time to spread, is key to survival.
VELscope Vx is an advanced system that helps Dr. Kingston spot tissue abnormalities, including suspected cancerous tissue, much earlier. If oral cancer is confirmed by a cellular biopsy, the chance for survival is exponentially improved if it is detected sooner and the diseased tissue is surgically removed before it has a chance to spread.
Benefits of VELscope Vx
Used in conjunction with your soft tissue oral exam, VELscope technology helps Dr. Kingston spot a host of tissue abnormalities earlier, including abnormalities which may be cancerous. If early-stage oral cancer is confirmed by a tissue biopsy, the chance for survival is vastly improved, and any resulting surgery should be less invasive.
VELscope exams are safe and inexpensive, take only 2-to-3 minutes, and are completely pain-free. Our patients also appreciate the fact that no distasteful rinses or messy dyes are involved.