Did you know almost 41,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year and that the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent? When cancer is detected and treated early, treatment-related health problems are reduced.
The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.
During your dental visit, Dr. Dobson or Dr. Gilreath will talk to you about your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. The screening will consist of a visual inspection of the mouth and palpation of the jaw and neck as well as the newest digital technology, Velscope, to screen for oral cancer. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily. If found early, oral cancer five year survival rate is 80-85%. Found late, the five year survival rate drops to about 50%.
Our Velscope oral cancer detection aid uses natural tissue fluorescence to discover abnormalities in the oral mucosa. Velscope aids in discovering mucosal abnormalities before they can be seen under ordinary white-light conditions. The screening only takes about 1-2 minutes, and is, most importantly, pain free!