Mouth cancer: spotlight on equipment that can help diagnose potential issues.

The Velscope tool can help in an assessment for mouth cancer

The VELscope – a useful tool in assessing oral health.

Our clinic is running a campaign this year to raise awareness of the potential risk signs of mouth cancer.

We’ve posted several blogs about the signs to look out for and to stress the importance of seeking professional help if you’re at all concerned about any abnormality.

We’re also liaising with the team from The Ben Walton Trust, a charity which was set up to raise the awareness of mouth cancer risk factors and encourage people to seek help should they have any concerns. We recently carried a blog by one of the founders Michael Walton.

Today technology and sophisticated equipment can provide us with additional ways of investigating any issues arising from a dental examination.

The VELscope is a hand-held device that provides dentists and hygienists with an easy-to-integrate adjunctive mucosal examination system for the early detection of a wide variety of oral diseases, including pre-cancer and cancer.

It is important to stress that this is used as part of the examination process and that a properly qualified dental professional would use this in addition to the processes used to examine a patient’s mouth, together with assessment of risk and lifestyle factors.

Used in conjunction with the conventional intra-oral and extra-oral head and neck exam, the VELscope facilitates the discovery of mucosal abnormalities before they become visible under ordinary light.

The VELscope is the only non-invasive adjunctive device clinically proven to help discover occult oral disease. We have included the VELscope in our equipment inventory for our clinic.

How Does the VELscope Work?

This is the technical stuff – but it’s important as it explains why the VELscope can be a useful additional tool in examination processes.

The VELscope handpiece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites natural fluorophores from the surface of the epithelium through to the basement membrane (where premalignant changes typically begin) and into the stroma beneath, causing it to fluoresce. The VELscope’s proprietary filter makes fluorescence visualisation possible, by blocking reflected blue light, and by enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.

Is the VELscope a Diagnostic Tool?

Like other visualisation technologies, such as panoramic radiography, CT, MRI, PET and ultrasound, the VELscope is NOT a stand-alone diagnostic test. However, used in conjunction with the standard oral soft tissue exam, VELscope provides visual information that cannot be acquired in any other way.

Does the VELscope Generate “False Positives” for Oral Cancer?

False positives occur when a diagnostic test mistakenly signals the presence of disease. The VELscope system is NOT a diagnostic test, and does not, consequently, generate false positives. As an adjunctive visualisation tool, the VELscope helps dental professionals discover a wide range of unhealthy tissue in the mouth, including oral pre-cancer and cancer.

If you have any questions arising from this blog or you wish to book an examination please contact our Glasgow clinic reception team on 0141 339 7579.