Oral Cancer Part 2 Screening with Velscope and Personal Stories

Dr. Sharma demonstrates how we use Velscope to do early detection and she share some personal stories of oral cancer victims in her own family and friends.

Oral Cancer Screening

Today we’re doing on oral cancer screening on our acting patient Renae. We’re going to ask her a few questions.

  • Do you drink alcohol?
    • Socially
  • Do you clench or grind?
    • Yes
  • Do you wear a nightguard?
    • Yes

Now, I’m going to check for cheek bites. Constant biting can cause change in the tissue, which can lead to cancer in the future so we make sure all the causes are taken away. We’ll get started by turning on the lights, Dr. Sharma puts on gloves. Renae has her protective glasses.

We’re going to start with her lips. I’ll ask you to open your mouth, i’ll spread everything. Start looking at the teeth area, the gums. Stick out your tongue, looking on the side to make sure everything looks normal. I do not see any cheek bites. I’ll have you stick your tongue out, to look at the back of the throat. I looked at the roof, and floor of your mouth I’m pressing to make sure I don’t feel any lumps or bumps. It looks lovely.

Next we’ll demonstrate the Veloscope. It’s $10 a year which is worth every penny. You’re checking to make sure everything looks all good, and clear. It’s a fluorescent light that shines in the mouth, penetrates the tissues and can show us any abnormalities. If I see something dark all I need to do is press down on the area and make sure it blanches, which is good. If it doesn’t blanche we’ll take a picture, and send it to an oral surgeon. They’ll let us know if it needs to be biopsied or checked further.

Getting started, she’ll have her glasses on but I am going to be looking through the light. It makes a noise, and blows a little bit of air. All I see is a beautiful green light in her mouth. You’ll stick your tongue to the roof of the mouth. This is one of the areas where you’ll see dark shadows. When I press on it, it’s blanching which is good. Stick your tongue out all the way and I’ll press on it as well as both sides of the mouth and tongue, you’re all done!

What age should we start getting this done? The age is now as low as 13 because of teens being sexually active and HPV. 16 and above is typically the age to start being tested for oral cancer. I had a patient come in saying when she would eat something, it would feel a bit funny under her tongue. When I looked it was way beyond what I could do. The Veloscope was fiery red, it was terrible. We rushed her to an oral surgeon and they rushed her to UofM. It was that bad, and that’s why it’s so important.

I have a history in my own family. My aunt used to chew tobacco and she complained to me once, saying she had an ulcer so I checked on it. It looked a bit funny, I told her to get it checked by a dentist. The dentist said “Oh, it’s healing don’t worry about it” Then she ignored it until it was stage 3 oral cancer. She had to get her tongue removed, work done on her upper and lower jaw, they thought they got all the lymph nodes removed, sadly it came back again and she died. My friend’s mother had an ill fitting partial. Kept causing trauma to the tongue, caused a tongue cancer that spread to the floor of the mouth. So, it’s so very important to get an oral cancer screening done.

A lot of times you think you don’t have it. I have a lot of patients say “No, I don’t want to do the Veloscope today” It’s important just for peace of mind. Make sure you, your friends, and family are getting an oral cancer screening. Every 6 months and using the Veloscope once a year. If your dentist doesn’t have a Veloscope you are more than welcome to come to Provident Dentistry and we will screen your.

As always, if you have any questions give us a call we would be glad to help. Thank You!

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