April is oral cancer awareness month. And although not the most glamorous of topics, it is something that we take very seriously at polish DENTISTRY. We recommend a visual oral cancer screening at every cleaning visit and, at a bare minimum, we recommend using our Velscope technology at least once a year for every patient.
It is important for patients to know that the “old school” risk factors are not the same ones that are most concerning today. Some patients think that since they only socially smoke or no longer smoke, it means that they are not at risk, but actually the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer is from HPV. So while smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, we now have a whole new generation of people that are at risk of developing oral cancer. According to the oral cancer foundation, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer is in young, healthy, non-smoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus!!
And by identifying it early we can prevent the devastation that can occur by catching it late in formation.
Our sole goal is early detection and prevention! By using our Velscope, we can detect changes in your tissue, before they can be seen with the naked eye alone. If changes are noticed, we can get you into the right hands to figure out what is going on, and hopefully take care of issues before they become life altering or threatening.
At polish DENTISTRY we use VELscope® in conjunction with the visual exam. It will be used by your dentist or hygienist as an adjunct to the traditional visual oral examination. It is a non- invasion scope that uses incandescent light to enhance the visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities that may not be apparent or visible to the unassisted eye. You can see below an example of what it allows us to see, when it is used in the mouth.
Once we have completed the exam, if there are any areas of suspicion that have been around longer than 2 weeks, we will refer to a specialist who will be able to diagnose the area with further testing. According to the oral cancer foundation: Any sore, discoloration, induration, prominent (exophytic) tissue, irritation, hoarseness, complaints of difficulty in swallowing, unilateral earaches, which does not resolve within a two week period on its own, with or without treatment, should be considered suspect and worthy of further examination or referral.
At polish DENTISTRY, we are hoping to educate more people on the necessity of early screening. This quick two-minute exam can be done at any visit, but is easiest to remember to do at your cleaning visits.
For the month of April, we are offering FREE ORAL CANCER SCREENINGS. You can call to set up your appointment for the quick, non-invasive exam of your mouth, so you can see how easy the process actually is.