Oral Cancer Screening Technology
In health care, it is a well-known fact that the dreaded disease of cancer is much more treatable if it’s caught early. To this end, there are a number of screening tests that have become accepted by the public as routine to catch some of the more common cancers that we confront. Pap smears for cervical cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, PSA tests for prostate cancer, and colonoscopies for colon cancer are all part of our common experience.
The incidence of oral cancer and throat cancer in the United States is 34,000 new cases per year, with an average of 8,000 deaths per year. This is close to three times the rate of cervical cancer in this country. Oral cancer has one of the highest death rates of any cancer since it is often caught only after is has metastasized to the lymph nodes.Typically, smoking and alcohol use have greatly increased the risk of oral cancer, but it is becoming much more common to find cancer in people without these risk factors.
Now we have a new technology call Oral-ID. This uses a process called Fluorescence Visualization Technology to allow us to see early changes in your oral tissues under a special hand-held light. We are incorporating the use of the Oral-ID Cancer Screening into our standard oral exam by our dental hygienists. They have always been doing and will continue to do a standard visual and manual screening, but the Oral-ID Cancer Screening gives us an entirely new level of detection. If we do detect any questionable areas with the Oral-ID, we will document the area and decide whether to monitor it, brush biopsy it, or refer to an oral surgeon for a more definitive evaluation and possible biopsy.