The phrase oral cancer refers to cancers which affect the mouth but can spread to the neck and chest area. Because it affects soft tissues, it may not be detectable in the early stages with an x-ray, but the VELscope can be used to observe deep soft tissues without incisions. The mouth’s muscles and connective tissue naturally contain the compound fluorophore, which emits fluorescent light when activated by certain wavelengths of light. The blue-colored light emitted by the VELscope is just the right wavelength to trigger this fluorescence, which is harmless and requires no preparation or recovery.
If a part of the mouth fails to emit fluorescent light while being scanned, it means that the tissue beneath the surface is abnormal. That does not by itself, however, indicate cancer or a precancerous condition. The next step is for Dr. George Lambrinos to take a biopsy, which is a sample of tissue which is sent to a lab for analysis. This sample is usually collected simply by rubbing a brush on the area; though the abnormality may be below the surface, it can be chemically detected in surface cells once the VELscope tells the doctor where to look.
If analysis of the biopsy confirms cancerous material, Dr. George Lambrinos will remain an important part of the patient’s medical team. One of the most common side-effects of medication and cancer treatment is dry mouth. Without saliva, the body has a harder time resisting tooth decay, which often is neglected when patients are fighting for their lives. Fortunately, oral cancer has a high survival rate when caught early with a tool such as the VELscope.
For more information on Oral Cancer Screenings, visit us at www.geldentistry.com or call us at 732-530-0304.