LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (“LED Medical”, “the Company”), today recommended annual oral cancer examinations for all people aged 18 years and older, adding that those at higher risk for the disease should be examined more frequently.
“Many oral health experts, including the Oral Cancer Foundation, recommend that oral cancer exams be given annually to all patients starting no later than age 18,” said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its subsidiary, LED Dental. “What makes this particularly significant is that fact that according to numerous patient surveys, most adults say they have never received an oral cancer exam at any time in their entire lives.” Mr. Whitehead acknowledged that some patients have likely had oral cancer exams without realizing it, “perhaps because the dentist or hygienist didn’t want to create undue anxiety by using the ‘c-word’ with the patient.” Still, he said, these patient surveys make it clear that most patients are not being given oral cancer exams nearly as often as they should.
Mr. Whitehead also pointed that most health experts advise patients who are at higher risk for oral cancer to get oral cancer exams at least twice a year. These patients include users of smoking or chewing tobacco, heavy drinkers, those with a family history of cancer, and people who have had a large number of sexual partners and a history of engaging in oral sex. (While tobacco and alcohol have long been considered the leading causes of oral cancer, in recent years a high percentage of oral cancers have been traced to exposure to the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, particularly strain HPV-16.)
“What makes it such a shame that more oral cancer exams aren’t being given is the fact that the exams only take about five minutes, they can be received as part of a regular hygiene check-up, they’re totally painless, and they’re usually very affordable,” said Mr. Whitehead. “At a minimum, every dental practice should be giving all adult patients the three-minute conventional oral exam annually. Of course, we think the ideal scenario is to complement this with a two-minute exam using VELscope® technology, and we have thousands of users who agree.” Moreover, Mr. Whitehead pointed out, these exams can help detect other types of oral disease, such as viral, bacterial and viral infections.
The percentage of oral cancer patients who ultimately die of the disease is higher than for many other cancers. The reason: in most cases, oral cancer is discovered in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is approximately 50 percent. When discovered early, however, the survival rate leaps to about 83%. Clinical studies and feedback from practicing dentists indicate that when used in conjunction with the conventional oral examination (comprising visual inspection and palpation), VELscope’s®: adjunctive technology can help clinicians detect early stage oral cancer and other disease that otherwise might have been missed.
“Early detection is the key to reducing the mortality and morbidity of oral cancer,” said Mr. Whitehead, “and an annual, comprehensive oral cancer exam for everyone 18 and older is the key to earlier detection.” He added, “Dental practices should be conducting annual comprehensive oral exams to check for cancer and other oral diseases as a matter of course, and if your dentist isn’t, you should either ask them to start or consider finding a new dentist.” Consumers wishing to find a dental practice near them that conducts VELscope® exams may locate them at LED Dental.