Lora Cook RDH
Your Dentist can play vital role in detecting cancerous cells in the mouth at stage 0 to stage 1.
“According to the National Cancer Institute, most mouth cancers start as small flat cells that are in the lining of the mouth.” These area’s include lips, inside lining of the cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth. Also area’s of the tongue, sides of the tongue and under the tongue. The back of the throat is another area in the mouth that cancer can form. When oral cancer is caught early before it grows deeper into the tissue and progresses into the lymph nodes the outcome for the patient is good.
- Stage 0 – Is the precancerous stage, this is where cells are identified to be abnormal. They have the potential to develop into tumor.
- Stage 1 – Is when the primary tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller. In this early stage there are no cancer cells present in the nearby oral tissues or lymph nodes.
So what can the dentist do to catch oral cancer in the precancerous and primary stage of development? Its is called the Velscope! This is a tool used by the dentist to help detect precancerous and cancerous cells in small and early stages not easily seen by the naked eye. This type of exam is more thorough. This scope helps the doctor check for abnormalities just under the tissue surface. It can show where abnormal cells are, months and even years before they become easily visible to just the naked eye.
Frequently asked questions:
What does the doctor look for?
The scope will direct fluorescence light to find abnormal cells. When looking through the scope healthy tissue will fluoresce, any tissue that is abnormal will appear dark. So the doctor is looking for any dark spots or areas. The dentist and your hygienist will also do a manual exam shown below feeling for lumps or bumps, and unilateral abnormalities.
Is radiation involved when using the Velscope?
This exam is very safe, and there is no radiation involved. However the doctor will have you where some orange safety glasses to protect your eyes from the blue LED light from the scope.
How long does the exam take?
This exam takes all of one to two minutes to complete. Just long enough for the doctor to look at all the oral tissue in the mouth looking through the scope.
How often should I have this type of exam?
The doctor recommends thorough oral cancer screenings done at least once yearly.
American Cancer society recommends for people age 20 and older yearly screenings and exams for oral cancer.
Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com