VELscope® Can detect mouth cancer


Oral cancer is often referred to as the "forgotten disease" because it kills more people annually than testicular cancer, cervical and brain cancer and receives little publicity. Each year, more than 30,000 Americans contract oral cancer, and only 57% of these people will survive for more than five years without treatment.

Many believe that abstinence from tobacco and alcohol prevents the onset of oral cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use contribute to oral cancer, but 25% of those diagnosed do not.

The best way to protect yourself against oral cancer is to get an annual oral cancer screening test. Most dentists perform an oral cancer screening test during a regular dental checkup. The FDA-approved VELscope® provides dentists with an additional tool for early detection of oral cancer. The VELscope® is a blue excitation lamp that highlights precancerous and cancerous cellular changes.

How does the VELscope® work?

 VELscope® uses visualization of fluorescence in a new and captivating way. Essentially, bright blue light illuminates the mouth to expose changes and lesions that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The greatest difficulty in diagnosing oral cancer lies in the fact that its symptoms resemble the symptoms of less serious problems. The VELscope® system offers an important intuitive approach to detect what happens under the surface.
Healthy soft oral tissues naturally absorb blue light from the VELscope®. Healthy regions beneath the surface of soft tissue are reflected in green and the problem areas are much darker.

Some of the benefits of using the VELscope® system include:

  • Can be combined with digital photography
  • Detects lesions and white and red spots
  • Detects problems that can not be seen under white light
  • Exposes pre-cancerous and cancerous tissues
  • Approved by the FDA
  • Help the dentist ensure that abnormal soft tissues are completely removed
  • Helps to diagnose oral cancer in its early stages, exponentially increasing the chances of survival
  • Quick and painless exams

How is the VELscope® exam performed?

The examination with the VELscope® takes literally only two or three minutes. It is a painless and non-invasive procedure that saves many lives every year.
Here is a brief overview of the VELscope® exam:

Initially, the dentist will perform a visual examination of the lower part of the face. This includes the glands, tongue, cheeks and palate, as well as teeth.

 Then, the mouth is rinsed with a rinse solution for a little less than a minute. The dentist provides special glasses to protect the eyes. The lights in the room are sieved to allow a better view of the illuminated oral cavity.
The small VELscope® device is curved so that the blue light is projected into the mouth. 

Lesions and other oral cancer indicators are easily noticeable, as they appear much darker under specialized light.
If symptoms are noted, the dentist can conduct a biopsy immediately to determine if it is oral cancer. The results of the biopsy dictate the best treatment plan. If they are negative, another oral cancer screening will be done within one year.

If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer screening or about the VELscope® system, please contact our office.