How it Works
The VELscope works through tissue fluorescence – an optical phenomenon that causes abnormal tissue to appear a different color.
By regulating the illumination intensity and wavelength output, the VELscope Vx’s patented ‘ring-of-light’ illumination element causes healthy cells in the mouth to fluoresce, emitting a bright green glow. By contrast, potential areas of concern will show a marked lack of fluorescence, appearing dark when viewed against the healthy tissue.
Most people are aware that the fluorescence technology used by VELscope Vx can help a doctor locate oral cancer and premalignant dysplasia. But the fluorescence technology can also help the attending clinician locate lichen planus, lichenoid mucositis, squamous papillomas, candidiasis, viral and bacterial infections as-well-as inflammation from a variety of causes (e.g. trauma) and even salivary gland tumors.
Oral Cancer & Oral Disease
Growing numbers of clinical practitioners now incorporate routine intra- and extra-oral head and neck exams into their hygiene appointments to screen for dysplasia, oral cancer and a host of other oral diseases.
When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% survival rate. Unfortunately the majority of cases are found as late-stage cancers, accounting for the high death rate of about 45% at five years from diagnosis, and high treatment related morbidity in survivors.
Found early, while still Localized (confined to the primary site), oral cancer's five-year survival rate is strong: about 83%. Only 33% of all oral cancer discoveries fall into this category.
Found while Regional (after 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. Routine VELscope Vx examinations can improve the morbidity and mortality of oral-cancer, because the VELscope Vx system assists in early detection, potentially saving lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.
HPV — Changing the Demographics of Oral Cancer
An increasing body of evidence points to a strong link between particular strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV, most notably strain 16) and a certain type of oral cancer that occurs in the oropharynx. HPV 16 is the same strain associated with almost all cervical cancer. Many experts now recommend that all adult patients over the age of 18 receive a thorough intra- and extra-oral head and neck exam annually.