What is the VELscope?
The VELscope is the first adjunctive device cleared by the FDA and Health Canada to help clinicians detect cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions and other lesions that might not be apparent to the naked eye. The VELscope is also cleared to help surgeons determine appropriate surgical margins.
How does the Velscope work?
The VELscope's blue light excites natural "fluorophores" in mucosal tissues. In turn, the fluorophores emit their own light — in shades of green, yellow and red. The VELscope's proprietary filter makes fluorescence visualization possible, by blocking reflected blue light, and by enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.
In other words...the VELscope causes healthy tissue to emit a light greenish glow, whereas unhealthy tissues or areas of increased blood flow emit a darker color.
Is it Painful?
No, the VELscope is a painless, two minute diagnostic test.
Why is it so important to be screened for oral cancer?
Close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma) Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.Often oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis, at these later stages, the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures. Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed by the patient, as it can frequently prosper without producing pain or symptoms they might readily recognize, and because it has a high risk of producing second, primary tumors. This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. This heightened risk factor can last for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90% are squamous cell carcinomas. It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States each year on treatment of head and neck cancers. (2010 numbers)
With a diagnostic tool like the VELscope, we will be able to earlier detect any oral abnormalities.Go Back