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Study documents value of a device in fighting oral cancer

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Study documents value of a device in fighting oral cancer
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The fact that oral cancer is one of the few types of cancer that has not experienced a significant reduction in mortality over the past several decades is attracting more media attention and generating more public concern. Given that roughly two-thirds of oral cancers are discovered in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, the key to reducing the devastating impact of this disease is earlier detection.

Many health experts cite the fact that the mortality rate of cervical cancer was reduced by 74 percent due largely to the impact of the Pap smear on early detection of that disease.

There is widespread agreement that dental practitioners are best suited to detect oral cancer. Virtually all dentists and hygienists are trained to conduct the conventional head and neck “white light” examination featuring palpation and visual inspection.

For several years, dental practices have also had the option of augmenting the “white light” examination with various adjunctive screening devices, including the VELscope tissue fluorescence visualization technology developed by LED Dental.

While thousands of practices have embraced this technology over the past five years and made it the world’s No. 1 oral mucosal screening device, others have opted to wait until more clinical evidence is available documenting the VELscope’s efficacy.

While several studies have been published supporting the VELscope’s value as an adjunctive screening device, a study recently published by Dr. Edmond Truelove and colleagues from the University of Washington provides perhaps the most impressive evidence yet of the VELscope’s efficacy. The article, “Narrow band (light) imaging of oral mucosa in routine dental patients. Part I: Assessment of value in detection of mucosal changes,” was published in the July/August issue of General Dentistry.

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