We live in a health-conscious world these days. Countless fitness centers, specialized boutiques and group class crazes, super curated diets, juice bars on every corner and exceptionally aspirational social media profiles proliferate in America and beyond. It’s no question that people want to take care of their health. It’s not a billion-dollar industry without reason.
We go to the gym, take supplemental pills, get cleanses, find myriad ways to detoxify our bodies, fill them with the most organic of foods and we keep some type of healthcare professional on speed dial. But what if, with all that we do to keep ourselves healthy, we are actually missing a key component, one that, continually overlooked, could make all of our efforts naught? Sure, being diligent about what we put in our mouths and how we treat our bodies is of utmost importance. What about the inside of our mouths? Oral cancer- it’s not just for tobacco users anymore.
When was the last time your dentist performed an oral cancer screening? Don’t remember? Most of us don’t. In fact, I’d be willing to venture that many of us, if we’ve had an oral screening, didn’t realize it because typically it’s a visual test performed by your dentist or hygienist. Now, when was the last time, as a woman, you had a breast exam or, as a man, you had a physical exam inclusive of prostate or testicular cancer examinations? These we remember, right? People routinely have these exams because over time they’ve become a highly valued preventative measure. Why, then, are we not doing the same with our oral care when every hour a person in America dies from oral cancer? This isn’t meant to scare you; it’s meant to inform you that there are choices out there – quick, painless measures that may have escaped your recognition.
The VELscope® Vx is the world’s most widely used adjunctive device for the enhanced visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer or pre-malignant dysplasia. The VELscope can help your dentist see oral abnormalities that are often overlooked or not visible with the naked eye. It’s recognized by the World Health Organization and is the Best of Class Tech Award winner since 2011. Pretty exceptional acknowledgements for a tool you’ve probably never heard of, right? Yes, I am telling you that there is an oral cancer screening tool out there in the medical universe that could help save your life and isn’t being used by the majority of oral healthcare professionals.
Just as we do with every other aspect of our well-being it’s time we start taking matters into our own hands and asking our dental care professionals why we are not being offered an oral cancer screening with the VELscope. The exam, which can be performed during a routine office visit with no special equipment aside from the VELscope itself, takes approximately two minutes, is painless, non-invasive and could help save your life. More than 50,000 people in North America will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. As the sixth most prevalent cancer globally, oral cancer is often diagnosed in late stages, where patient prognosis is poor. However, diagnosing oral cancer in its earliest stages improves the survival rate to 83%, with routine oral health screenings being a critical step in the detection of the disease.
Not receiving proper oral screening makes all those hours in the gym, the time counting macros and protein intake, diligent sunscreen application and regular physical check-ups seem less than helpful in comparison. Taking care of ourselves means more than just proper diet and exercise and regular brushing and flossing; it also means talking to your dentist today and requesting an oral screening utilizing the VELscope Vx.