Oral cancer is not a rare disease. In the U.S. alone, someone dies of oral cancer every hour of every day. The fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is now people 25-50 years old who are mostly non-smokers. Therefore each and every integratedDental patient, not just smokers and those over the age of 50, receives a quick and painless oral cancer screening annually so you can rest assured that you are receiving the best health care currently available.
Historically, oral cancers were more likely to occur after the age of 50, and in tobacco users and people who consume heavy amounts of alcohol. However, the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is now people 25-50 years old who are mostly non-smokers. These patients represent a new disease pattern, specifically one due to a cancer-causing virus, HPV 16, the same virus responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers. This virus is sexually transmitted between partners and accounts for the increase in oral cancer in young, non-smoking victims who do not fall into the historical tobacco risk factor group. Why this is so important is it demonstrates that each and every adult, not just those over the age of 50, should be screened for oral cancer.
Late discovery and diagnosis of oral cancer are major factors in the high death rates associated with this disease. The good news is that oral cancer can be found early in its development (stages one and two), through a simple, relatively inexpensive, completely painless, quick screening, resulting in survival rates closer to 80-90%.
The best way to make sure you stay healthy and are diagnosed early for this disease is by demanding your oral physician do a yearly oral cancer screening exam. In a painless, 3-5 minute long oral cancer screening, most of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be detected with the naked eyes or felt with the fingers.
At integratedDENTAL, we also offer the VELscope™ exam to our patients as an adjunctive screening tool to help identify and photograph cancerous and precancerous growths that may not be apparent to the naked eye under white light. A screening with the VELscope™ System is both quick and pain-free, and may allow for identification of cellular changes and abnormal growths before they become cancerous, increasing the oral cancer five-year survival rate to 80% or higher. Irregular tissues identified during a yearly oral cancer screening can then be easily biopsied for a definitive diagnosis.
Your overall health is the team at integratedDENTAL’s greatest concern, and with annual screenings along with the VELscope™ System you can rest assured that you are receiving the best health care currently available. For more information regarding oral cancer and the VELscope™ System, visit http://oralcancerfoundation.org/ or www.velscope.com, or call us with any questions you may have.