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Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. It is important because it can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and pharynx accounts for over 34,000 cases per year in the United States with approximately 8,000 deaths per year. Unfortunately, the diagnosis continues to rely on patient presentation and physical examination with biopsy confirmation. Studies confirm that survival does correlate with stage, making early diagnosis and treatment optimal for this disease. Seventy-five percent of all head and neck cancers begin in the oral cavity. According to the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Ends Results (SEER) program, thirty percent of oral cancers originate in the tongue, 17 percent in the lip, and 14 percent in the floor of the mouth. Many other studies support this finding that oral cancers appear most often on the tongue, and floor of the mouth.
A thorough, systematic examination of the mouth and neck need only take a few minutes and can detect these cancers at an early and curable, stage. Our goal is to discover oral, head and neck cancers early.
Although this report is based on examination technique, it is critical to remember that any person with a history of tobacco and alcohol use or prior head and neck malignancy has a significant risk of developing an oral, head and neck cancer. In fact historically 75 percent of these cancers are related to alcohol and tobacco use. These individuals may deserve more frequent examinations.
But also bear in mind that one out of four oral, head and neck cancers, particularly in patients over the age of 50, are detected in patients who do not smoke or drink alcohol; obviously all patients, regardless of their history, need to be screened at least once a year by their physician or dentist.
ViziLite® TBlue®* is used to help oral healthcare professionals identify, evaluate, monitor and mark abnormal oral cell lesions suspicious for pathology including precancerous and cancerous cells that may be difficult to see during a regular visual exam.
The ViziLite TBlue Advantage:
A clinical study has shown that the use of ViziLite TBlue after a conventional visual examination resulted in: