Berrien Springs, MI -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/26/2016 -- The mortality rate of oral cancer has not changed in over thirty years in part due to the fact that it isn't diagnosed early enough. Berrien Dental uses the VELscope oral cancer screening system. Dr. Todd Christy, Dr. Eric Balsis and the hygienists can detect suspect areas before they are visible to the naked eye.
Oral cancer appears as white, red or white and red patches. When these patches are able to be seen by the naked eye it typically means the cancer is already in an advanced stage. VELscope allows the Berrien Dental doctors to detect possible oral cancer cells at their earliest stage, when oral cancer is still often curable.
The VELscope system uses a powerful blue light to increase the ability to see lesions, cancerous, and precancerous cells typically invisible to the naked eye. "The light allows me to distinguish between normal and abnormal cells with a higher rate of accuracy," states Dr. Balsis. VELscope also allows for better removal of all diseased tissue.
Risk factors for oral cancer vary for different people. Some risk factors, such as age or race, can't be changed. Others may be related to smoking, drinking, or diet. However, risk factors don't tell the doctors the entire story. By using VELscope Dr. Christy and Dr. Balsis get an early jump on diagnosing suspect cells.
Oral cancers are twice as common in men as in women. "This might be because men have been more likely to use tobacco and alcohol in the past. While this is changing, the recent rise in HPV-linked cancers has been mainly among younger men," Dr. Balsis noted.
"We are using the VELscope as an oral cancer-screening device. It does not diagnose cancer, but is in addition to the oral examination. It is, with our experience, a fantastic non-invasive screening device. It is a misconception that some dentists or dental hygienists hold that this device will determine whether or not the lesion is cancerous. It does not. It simply aids in finding abnormalities not visible to the naked eye," remarks Dr. Christy.
Screening for oral cancer with VELscope is completed in a minute or two and is a non-invasive procedure. This screening is included in every routine dental exam and there is no extra charge for the procedure.
To make an appointment in Berrien Springs call 269-471-4055 or call 269-983-4311 in St. Joseph.