The VELscope Vx helps us identify oral disease early, while it’s still easy to treat. One of the VELscope’s most important tasks is to help locate areas that might, if not treated, progress to cancer.

  • Found early, oral cancer’s 5-year survival rate is good: approx. 83%
  • Found late, oral cancer’s 5-year survival is poor: approx 32%
  • Clearly, finding oral cancer in its early stages is key to survival

Risk Factors

Tobacco and chewing tobacco, along with alcohol, are the leading causes of oral cancer. Over the last four decades, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), known its role for cervical cancer, has been showing up in increasing numbers of oral cancer cases.

Smiles by Hart - velscope
Smiles by Hart - oral cancer

Oral Cancer Facts

  • Slightly more than 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2020.
  • Worldwide the problem is much greater, with new cases exceeding 640,000 annually.
  • In the US, approximately 132 new individuals each day will be diagnosed with oral cancer.
  • The fastest growing segment of the oral/oropharyngeal cancer population comes from HPV16, a virus that goes unnoticed with no precancerous signs.
  • Approximately one person every hour of every day 24/7/365 will die from oral cancer in the US alone.
  • While not related to biology, oral cancer occurs in blacks 2 to 1 over whites.
  • Oral cancer occurs in men 2 to 1 over women.

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use in all of its forms and alcohol are major risk factors for developing oral cancer.
  • While the vast majority of oral cancers (front/anterior of mouth) are related to tobacco and alcohol, about 10% of these cancers come from unknown causes. This includes all three types of cancers found in the oral environment: Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), and Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma (MEC).
  • The unknown etiology cancers may arise from a genetic aberration or frailty or from a yet unidentified common shared lifestyle risk factor.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Any sore or ulceration that does not heal within 14 days.
  • A red, white, or black discoloration of the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • Any abnormality that bleeds easily when touched (friable).
  • A lump or hard spot in the tissue, usually border of the tongue (induration).
  • Tissue raised above that which surrounds it; a growth (exophytic).
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, that does not heal.
  • A lump or thickening that develops in the mouth.
  • A painless, firm, fixated lump felt on the outside of the neck, which has been there for at least two weeks.
  • All the above symptoms have the commonality of being persistent and not resolving.