What is VELscope?
VELscope is an instrument that helps visualize abnormalities in the mucous tissues of your lips, mouth and upper throat. In just a few minutes, with no rinses, stains or discomfort, Dr. Preis will be able to assess your overall oral health and oral cancer risks.
How Does the VELscope Work?
The VELscope’s blue light “excites” molecules (called “fluorophores”) deep within the layers of oral mucous tissues. In turn, those fluorophores emit their own light (fluorescence), in shades of green, yellow and red. The VELscope’s proprietary filter makes fluorescence visualization possible, by blocking reflected blue light, and by enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.
Approximately 36,540 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx in 2010. During the same time period 7,880 Americans will die of oral cancer.
One of the VELscope system’s most important tasks is to help identify areas that might, if not identified and treated, progress to oral cancer. The statistics below, from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER Database, 1999-2006, are a compelling argument for regular VELscope exams:
- Found early, while still Localized (confined to the primary site), oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is good: about 83%. Only 33% of all oral cancer discoveries fall into this category.
- Found while Regional (progressed to regional lymph nodes) the five-year survival rate drops significantly, to about 55%. Approximately 46% of all oral cancer Discoveries are Regional.
- Found late, oral cancer’s five-year survival rate is poor: approximately 32%. This accounts for approximately 14% of all oral cancer findings.
Clearly, finding oral cancer in its early stages is key to survival. The VELscope Vx offers hope for the early discovery of oral pre-cancers and cancers, by providing your dentist or hygienist with visual information that may not be apparent under ordinary light.
For more information on oral cancer, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Oral disease can have serious repercussions for both physical and psychological health. Oral-facial pain can be crippling, interfering with such basic activities as chewing, swallowing, talking, working, and sleeping. Conditions that change or distort our facial features can make us feel less attractive, leading to social withdrawal and depression.
The VELscope system has been developed to help dental professionals discover a wide variety of oral abnormalities, including oral pre-cancer and cancer. By shining VELscope’s safe blue light in a patient’s oral cavity, a dentist is able to distinguish between normal and abnormal tissue. That helps in the quest to find oral disease, even if it’s invisible under ordinary light.