According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 43,500 people in the US are diagnosed with oral/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer every year and one person dies of this cancer every hour. When discovered early, the survival rate can be as high as 90% with treatment. Unfortunately, most cancer lesions are discovered in the later stages which have only 57% survival rate 5 years from diagnosis. In recent years, OC has been on the rise with as much as 11% in 2007. There are two distinct pathways of getting OC. One is the use of tobacco and alcohol, while the other is exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16) – the same one that is responsible for most of the cervical cancers in women. Finally, about 7% people get OC from an unidentified cause.
There are two clinical procedures available to screen patients for oral cancer. One is a Velscope screening with its loss-fluorescence technology. When the Velscope illuminates inflammatory/diseased tissues, they give off sharp dark appearances. This visual tool alerts the operator to inspect the area more closely. Second is the OralDNA test where cancer cells are detected in the saliva sample and mapped in a DNA laboratory. The OralDNA test is focused on identifying the HPV virus before it can cause cancer lesions.
If you have any questions about the oral cancer screening process, please give us a call today for additional information.