According to the Canadian Cancer Society, in 2017, 4700 Canadians were diagnosed with oral cancer. Over a quarter of those cases were fatal. Luckily, screening for oral cancer is a relatively simple process, and early detection can save lives. At South Calgary Denture and Implant Clinic, we use VELscope oral screening to detect abnormal tissues in our patients.
Why Screen for Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is difficult to see with the naked eye because it does not manifest in the same way that other cancers do. In the early stages, lumps or colour changes may not be visible and therefore do not offer visual cues. Because of this, oral cancer is usually not detected until it has metastasized to other areas of the body. We use the most advanced screening technology on our patients to find potential cancer concerns early.
How Does it Work?
VELscope is a light-based detection system. It works by providing fluorescent visualization to highlight cancerous and precancerous cells. The blue light stimulates the epithelial cells and stoma in your mouth, making abnormal tissue appear a different colour. Think of it like the black lights that investigators use to examine crime scenes. In this scenario, the perpetrator is oral cancer and the incriminating evidence is abnormal tissue. This makes this noninvasive system a simple way for clinicians to see what is going on in your mouth.
Who Should Be Screened?
While all people should undergo regular screenings, there are some factors that indicate a higher risk level of oral cancer and therefore require annual checks. These factors include:
- Use of tobacco products currently or in the past ten years.
- Consumption of at least one alcoholic drink per day.
- Previous diagnosis of cancer in any form.
It only takes a few minutes to complete a full screening of your mouth. That vital scan can result in early detection which may stop oral cancer in its tracks. For questions or concerns about regular screening, contact us today at 403-254-5000. Let us help you keep living your best life with your best smile!