Detecting oral cancer: a new technique and case reports

Dent Today. 2006 Oct;25(10):94, 96-7.


The VELscope is an important aid in patient assessment, and when added to a well-thought out clinical assessment process that takes into consideration the age of the patient and risk factors that include tobacco, alcohol, and immunologic status, it increases the clinician's ability to detect oral changes that may represent premalignant or malignant cellular transformation. False positive findings are possible in the presence of highly inflamed lesions, and it is possible that use of the scope alone may result in failure to detect regions of dysplasia, but it has been our experience that use of the VELscope improves clinical decision making about the nature of oral lesions and aids in decisions to biopsy regions of concern. Where tissue changes are generalized or cover significant areas of the mouth, use of the scope has allowed us to identify the best region for biopsy. As with all clinical diagnostic activities, no single system or process is enough, and all clinicians are advised to use good clinical practice to assess patients and to recall and biopsy lesions that do not resolve within a predetermined time frame. Lesions that are VELscope-positive and absorb light need to be followed with particular caution, and if they do not resolve within a 2-week period, then further assessment and biopsy are generally advised. It is much better to occasionally sample tissue that turns out to be benign than to fail to diagnose dysplastic or malignant lesions. In our fight to protect patients from cancer, the VELscope improves our odds for early detection, hopefully resulting in fewer deaths from oral cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Filtration / instrumentation
  • Fluorescence
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gingival Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / diagnosis
  • Lighting / instrumentation
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Optics and Photonics / instrumentation
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnosis*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / diagnosis