Oral Cancer: Are You at Risk?

Shenandoah Community Health Clinic is now offering oral cancer examinations for free with your dental exam visit. These examinations are carried out by our new VELscope system.

VELscope is a safe and easy dental tool that uses fluorescent light to detect early signs of oral cancer and infection that go unnoticed to the naked eye. Oral cancer has a 40% mortality rate and may reoccur in 40 to 50% of patients after treatment. VELscope’s early detection rates can reduce this recurrence to only 10-20%. VELscope is painless, and non-invasive. If you are at heightened risk for oral cancer, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment. Risk factors include:

● Smoking and tobacco use. 85% of head and neck cancer is associated with tobacco use.

● Excessive alcohol consumption, especially in combination with tobacco use.

● HPV and/or syphilis infection.

● Adults over the age of 40.

● Vitamin A deficiency. Poor nutrition and lack of fruits and vegetables can lead to Vitamin A deficiency and increase your risk.

● Long amounts of time in direct sunlight.

● Mouth ulcers.

● Weakened immune system. If you have pre-existing conditions that lower your immunity, you are at heightened risk for oral cancer.

Oral cancer can cause mouth and ear pain, difficulty swallowing or speaking, cardiovascular conditions and loose teeth. Oral cancer may also lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Like other types of cancer, finding it early is the best way to assure the most successful treatment. If you’re interested in this quick and painless screening to detect oral cancer, please schedule your dental exam with our office at (540) 459-9333.