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VELscope® oral cancer screening

Oral cancer is a concerning condition due to its prevalence in our country. Currently, as many as 30,000 new diagnoses for oral cancer are made each year, and as many as 8,000 deaths occur. While the survival rate for other types of cancers has improved significantly in recent decades, improvement in survival rates for oral cancer have not changed in more than half a century. While there are specific risk factors associated with oral cancer, we have also seen up to 25 percent of new cases diagnosed without the presence of identified risks.

Mortality rates for conditions such as cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer have all declined in recent years, primarily due to early detection through screening. Early detection and treatment saves lives. At Burloak Centre Dentistry, we believe our patients can benefit from early detection screening for oral cancer and we are proud to utilize the VELscope® device as an adjunct to the physical examination of the oral structure.

VELscope® is a precision hand-held device that aids the dental team in the identification of mucosal diseases. Screening with this device provides a more in-depth view of the oral mucosa, or soft tissues in the mouth, using fluorescence.

Viewing tissue in fluorescent light is quite different from viewing under white light. Fluorescence is a blue light. Under blue light, epithelial tissue and the underlying stroma are excited, causing them to fluoresce. When excited, abnormalities within tissues will look different from healthy tissue. Using white light alone, abnormal tissue may look just like surrounding healthy tissues.

Healthy tissue, when fluoresced, will glow a bright green hue. Areas of concern will appear quite dark by comparison due to a lack of fluorescence. Used in conjunction with manual cancer screening examination, the VELscope® significantly improves the chances for early detection of abnormalities to mucosal tissues. If identification does not take place until there are obvious physical signs, the disease has had a chance to spread.

VELscope® screening requires no special stains or rinses and takes only one to two minutes to complete. VELscope® oral cancer screening is included in your routine check-up at no additional cost.
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