Heading Off Oral Cancer
The office of Dr. William J. Fitzgerald offers new pain-free ViziLite PlusExam to help detect oral cancer
One American dies every hour from oral cancer. It’s actually one of the deadliest forms of cancer when detected at a late stage. The five-year survival rate is only 21% from oral cancer that is detected at its latest stage, but the survival rate soars to 81% when it’s found at an early localized stage. Detecting pre-cancerous conditions could minimize concern. Is there a special technology to make that possible? “Yes,” says Dr. Fitzgerald.
“With oral cancer, early detection is the key,” says Dr. Fitzgerald. “That’s why I now offer my patients an annual ViziLite Plus oral cancer screening exam. Using a special light cleared by the FDA, the exam takes only minutes and is entirely non-invasive and pain-free.”
ViziLite Plus with TBlue assists in the early detection of oral abnormalities, including premalignant lesions and oral cancer. The technology improves the dentists ability to identify, evaluate and monitor lesions that are difficult to see under conventional lighting. This quick and painless exam aids dentists in being the first line of defense in fighting this deadly disease. If a suspicious lesion is detected, the dental professional will apply a special dye, called TBlue to mark the lesion to aid in the clinical evaluation.
Dr. Fitzgerald notes, “For cervical, prostate and breast cancer, we’ve gotten used to annual screening exams, pap smears, PSA tests and mammograms, each of which has greatly reduced death rates. In a similar fashion, ViziLite Plus exams could help reduce the deaths and disfigurement that can result from oral cancer. Dentists today are concerned with much more than cavities; we’re focused on total wellness, as indicated by conditions in the mouth.”
While most cases of oral cancer are associated with smoking and alcohol, one quarter of all cases affect people with no risk behaviors. “There is growing evidence that HPV (huma papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted virus that has long been associated with cervical cancer, is associated in nearly 10% of oral cancer cases in both men and women,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Public health experts think this may account for the growing number of oral cancers in younger people. The bottom line for everyone: “See your dentist; it may save your life.”
Every adult and especially those age 40 and older (the group in which most oral cancer is diagnosed) should have a conventional exam every time they go to the dentist and a ViziLite Plus exam annually.