The incidence of oral cancer is on the rise. Around the world, women get tested yearly for cervical cancer, while the more common oral cancer, goes undiagnosed. Studies have shown that oral cancer is highly treatable if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, most oral cancers are diagnosed after they have progressed to a late stage cancer. Part of the reason for late diagnosis has been that benign and pre-cancerous lesions may appear very similar to a dentist. Some precancerous and cancerous lesions do not show up well to the naked eye until the cancer has advanced to a late stage. In addition, many dentists see multiple benign lesions per day, leading to a “wait and watch” mentality. Unfortunately, lesions that may have been being “watched” have spread past Stage I cancer and become only 50% curable.
Fortunately, oral cancer detected early is highly curable. Stage I carcinoma cure rates are over 90%. The key to success is to recognize that everyone is at risk and to diagnose the disease early. At Eastside Comprehensive Dentistry, we know that a thorough exam can save lives. Last year, we began offering all of our patients the VELscope oral cancer exam. In addition to the traditional oral cancer examination, VELscope uses tissue fluorescence to aid in seeing oral cancer at its earliest stages, even before symptoms appear.
Some common symptoms of oral cancer include red or white lesions in the mouth that do not heal, difficulty swallowing, lumps in the head or neck area, hoarseness or numbness in the face or mouth. Don’t wait for symptoms of oral cancer to get a thorough oral examination. Call our office today and schedule your painless VELscope oral cancer examination.