The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores.
What is it?
Velscope is a new tool for oral mucosal examinations. It is a hand held device that provides dentists and oral health care professionals with an easy to use examination system for the early detection of abnormal tissue. It is used as an adjunctive aid in combination with traditional examination procedures.
How does it work?
The Velscope uses a fluorescence visualization technology. The system emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity. Dr. Matthew and Dr. Korj is then able to immediately view the different fluorescence responses to help differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue. Under examination with the Velscope System, abnormal tissue typically appears as an irregular, dark area that stands out against the otherwise normal, green fluorescence pattern of surrounding healthy tissue. It is a painless, non-invasive and requires no rinsing or stains.
Why should you have a Velscope screening?
- Your Oral Surgeon, Dentist or health care professional may be monitoring a suspicious area/lesion in your oral cavity.
- Incident of oral cancer increased to 11 % in the United States in 2007.
- Unlike several other cancers the survival rate for oral cancer has remained unchanged for decades.
- Early detection of oral cancer has a better survival rate.
Common Oral Cancer Risk Factors
- Oral Cancer occurs in those over the age of 40.
- Heavy alcohol consumption.
- Prolonged exposure to ultra violet radiation (Sunlight).