Oral or mouth cancers form when cells on the lips or in the mouth mutate, become abnormal, and multiply, forming tumors. One major risk factor for mouth cancer is the sexually transmitted HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection.
HPV commonly causes skin or mucous membrane growths (warts), with over 100 different varieties of viruses.1 Depending on the type, or strain, of HPV infection, the warts will appear on different parts of the body.
The Link Between HPV and Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, there’s been an ongoing rise in cases of oropharyngeal cancer linked to HPV infection in both men and women. Sometimes known as oral HPV, this infection causes both benign and cancerous warts or lesions in and around the mouth.
HPV is so common that about 14 million sexually active Americans become newly infected each year, but many people are never aware they have an HPV infection; each strain has various symptoms and for some, no noticeable symptoms at all. This can make it highly difficult to detect oral cancer in time to treat it.
How the VELscope Detects Oral HPV
Dentists on the cutting-edge of technology use the VELscope to examine the mouth tissue to diagnose oral HPV. The earlier a cancerous lesion is caught and treated, the higher the rate of survival, which makes this an essential tool.
The VELscope produces a bright blue light that activates and reveals the healthy tissues of the mouth, giving them a green appearance from fluorescence. This makes any tissue that’s damaged or diseased appear black or maroon by contrast.
Dr. Keith Phillips is a trained provider in VELscope technology. By differentiating between diseased, dark areas and healthy, fluorescent areas, Dr. Phillips identifies potentially cancerous tissue that could damage the oral cavity.
Screen Early and Often!
It is important to receive screenings twice a year. The earlier a cancerous lesion is detected and treated, the higher the rate of survival. The VELscope provides an effective way to stay on top of your health!
Make an appointment with Distinctive Dentistry to benefit from our latest technology and get the best care for your best dental health.
Dr. Keith Phillips has over 25 years of expertise in specialized dental practice, including VELscope training, cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, and sedation dentistry. Dr. Phillips is one of 26 Board-Certified Prosthodontists in Washington state.
Distinctive Dentistry serves patients in the greater Tacoma area, including Gig Harbor, Federal Way, and Puyallup. Our office is conveniently located just off the I-5 freeway, at 5615 Valley Ave. E., Tacoma, WA 98424.