Velscope Oral Cancer Screening

  • It kills one person every hour of every day in North America. 
  • It has three times more victims than cervical cancer. 
  • Nearly half of oral cancer patients are expected to die within five years of diagnosis. 

These are sobering statistics.  There is good news: caught early, the five year survival rate goes up significantly, to nearly 83%.  

High Tech Screening Device Aids in Early Detection

Our office has invested in a high tech electronic device that uses fluoresence visualization technology to aid us in early detection of oral cancers. The device, called the Velscope, is painless, non-invasive and involves no unpleasant rinses or stains.

It uses a safe blue light which excites the oral tissue, causing it to fluoresce, or “glow”.   Because normal tissue and abnormal tissue glow differently, we hope to discover possible cancers before they can be seen with the naked eye.  A recent study done by researchers at the University of Washington showed the Velscope to be a powerful tool in detecting abnormal tissue.

Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?

A history of alcohol and tabacco use has traditionally been the most significant factor associated with people who develop oral cancers.  However, more recently, a large percentage of those affected have never smoked or used alcohol, and include an increasingly younger set of people.  The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is thought to be the reason.  (This is the same virus that has been found to cause cervical cancer.)


What are the Signs of Oral Cancer?

The scary part of this disease is that, in its earliest stages, those who have it may not feel nor see anything out of the ordinary.  

Here are some common signs, however:

  • white or red patch in your mouth or small sore that looks like a canker sore – which does not go away after 14 days
  • lumps, bumps or masses that you can feel inside your mouth or neck
  • pain or trouble swallowing, speaking or chewing
  • any wart like masses
  • a hoarse or raspy voice that doesn’t go away
  • any numb feeling in your mouth or in your face around your mouth
  • sometimes, a persistent ear ache on just one side can be a warning sign

Early detection is the most effective way to improve survival rates.  If you notice a sore in your mouth that does not go away within 2 weeks, or notice any other of these signs, make an appointment as soon as possible.  

Call Dr. Cooper at 206-244-4545 to schedule a Velscope examination.


Send Us a Message

Alan Cooper,  DDS, PS

207 SW 156th Street, Suite 6

Burien, WA 98166