If you’ve ever had an oral cancer screening, it was likely performed with a VELscope. It’s used for more oral screenings around the world than any other device of its kind, and is the only one approved by both the United States Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada.

What is a VELscope?

While tobacco use is declining in the United States, the oral cancer rate is actually climbing. The United States National Cancer Institute reports that about 1.2% of the total population will be diagnosed with oral cancer in their lifetime. The VELscope is a revolutionary device using chemiluminescent and autofluourescent LED light sources as part of a light-based oral cancer detection system. The blue light causes stimulation of the epithelial cells, with areas of abnormality appearing darker in color. This means cancerous and pre-cancerous areas are visible to your dentist, all with a handheld scope as part of a two-minute procedure.

Where did this fascinating device come from though?

How Was the VELscope Developed?

With the support of more than $50 million in research funding from institutions like the British Columbia Cancer Agency, the United States National Institutes of Health and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at University of Texas, the VELscope was developed. Conceptualized by the British Columbia Cancer Agency and LED Dental, the product was released in 2006 as the very first tissue fluorescent device commercially available to dentists.

In 2008, a second-generation device was released which featured multiple advancements, including a more powerful lamp. To date, The VELscope system remains one of the most popular and effective devices for early detection of oral tissue abnormalities.

Three clinical studies were conducted at the British Columbia Cancer Agency as part of the regulatory clearance process, published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics in 2006, the Clinical Cancer Research journal and Head & Neck journal respectively.

Advancements in Oral Cancer Screening

Information from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER Database indicates an 85% survival rate for oral cancers found early, while still localized. Survival rates drop significantly as cancer is detected later, and currently only about 33% of oral cancer diagnoses happen while it’s confined to the primary site.

This data makes a strong argument for the VELscope, as the Chair of Oral Medicine at University of Washington discloses the results of an unpublished study conducted there: VELscope detected 100% of moderate-to-severe dysplasia, while conventional visual exams detected only 68%.

Early detection is the key to survival when it comes to oral cancers, and the VELscope is the gold standard for detection. Finding and assessing oral abnormalities quickly means more effective treatment and higher survival rates.

Pearl Dentistry offers a totally different kind of dental experience, accepting a limited number of patients to maintain the highest standard in patient care. Enjoy our snack and beverage bar while our clinical staff prepares to give you the very best in modern dental care, including a quick, painless and highly effective VELscope examination. Call today to schedule your oral health visit, complete with a state-of-the-art cancer screening.

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