Oral cancer is becoming more prevalent every year. Approximately 2.9% of a population of 100,000 were positive for some form of oral cancer. Prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in woman are still the highest types of cancer. Oral cancer unlike skin cancer is far more difficult to identify because in most cases it does not show any signs of cancer. The key is to get checked once a year. At the Radiance Dental Hygiene Clinic, we are using the newest and best technology available to date to help identify possible cancerous cells.
The state of the art unit being used is called the VELscope®
How Does It Work?
The VELscope® emits a safe, visible blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the oral tissue and causes it to fluoresce. The oral cavity can then be examined in real time, enhancing the practitioner’s ability to quickly identify suspicious tissue that may require further investigation.
- Abnormal fluorescence patterns aid the clinician in seeing unhealthy mucosal tissue that sometimes cannot be detected with the naked eye. Such patterns arise from a variety of causes, including:
- An increase in metabolic activity in the epithelium;
- A breakdown of the fluorescent collagen cross-links in the connective tissue layer beneath the basement membrane;
- An increase in tissue blood content, either from inflammation or angiogenesis (hemoglobin strongly absorbs fluorescence excitation [blue] and emission light [green]);
- The presence of pigments (e.g., melanin or amalgam particles) which absorb light.
VELscope® was designed to enhance the visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities that may not be apparent or visible to the naked eye. VELscope® is further intended to be used by a surgeon to help determine the appropriate margins for surgical excision.
Principles of Operation
The VELscope® works in three ways to help the clinician identify oral mucosal abnormalities.
- Induces natural tissue fluorescence by illuminating the oral cavity with a bright blue light.
- Filters out reflected light, allowing the clinician to visualize the tissue fluorescence.
- Applies sophisticated optical filtering technology to enhance fluorescence visualization.