Part of what you’ll find when you come to Westwood Family Dental is that our dental team has made oral cancer screenings a part of regular exams and checkups—even for patients with none of the typical risk factors. Why? Because oral cancer takes one American life every hour, with only half of all patients surviving longer than five years. That means diagnosing and treating it early is essential. When that happens, the cure rate can jump to between 80 or 90-percent.
But it’s not easy diagnosing oral cancer through a visual exam alone. That’s why the dental team at Westwood Family Dental uses a special tool known as VELscope Vx. With this unique service, our Van Wert team has a way of diagnosing oral cancer early on, while it’s still developing. As a result, we can put together a personalized treatment plan immediately to help you get the care you need.
What Can I Expect from an Oral Cancer Screen with VELscope Vx?
Is this your first time hearing about VELscope? If it is, we want you to know what you can expect from the process. A screening with VELscope is fast, painless, and very effective. Your doctor will darken the room and use a handheld light to visually examine your mouth’s soft tissues. Against that light, healthy tissue will look normal; areas of concern will stand out by glowing.
Why Is It Important to Be Screened for Oral Cancer?
The patients who are most vulnerable to oral cancer are those with the most common risk factors. Those include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, viral infection, or an autoimmune deficiency like HIV or diabetes. But not having any of those risk factors in your life doesn’t make you immune to oral cancer, unfortunately. As much as 25-percent of new diagnoses are being made in patients who don’t have any of those risk factors. Instead, those new cases—in men and women alike—are related to HPV. That’s why, for men who are over 40 and women who are between 20 and 40, an oral cancer screening with VELscope Vx is an important part of any checkup and cleaning.