LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (“LED Medical”, “the Company”), a developer of tissue visualization detection technologies for the medical industry, said today that females should take oral cancer screening as seriously as males.
“For decades the stereotypical oral cancer patient has been an older, tobacco-chewing, hard-drinking male,” said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its LED Dental subsidiary, the manufacturer of the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. “Today, however, one-third of oral cancer patients are female, and many of them are surprisingly young. For this reason, health experts now recommend that all adult patients—males and females alike—receive a comprehensive head and neck examination at least once a year.” Head and neck exams are intended to detect oral cancer and pre-cancer as well as other diseases and conditions in the head and neck region.
According to Mr. Whitehead, the best chances for early discovery of oral cancer occur when patients annually receive a conventional clinical exam consisting of palpation and visualization of the neck and face plus visual and tactile inspection of the oral cavity, followed by an examination of the oral cavity with an adjunctive device such as the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. Mr. Whitehead also noted that this two-part examination takes only minutes and is both non-invasive and highly affordable. LED Dental’s award-winning, cordless VELscope® Vx is the world’s leading adjunctive examination device, and has been shown in numerous clinical studies and in thousands of dental practices to help clinicians discover cancerous and precancerous lesions that might not be visible to the naked eye.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), for decades oral cancer affected six males for every one female. Today, however, the ratio is now two-to-one. One reason for the trend is that the percentage of females who smoke cigarettes is closer to the percentage of males who smoke than ever before. According to the American Lung Association, in 2008 18.3 percent of women smoked cigarettes, compared to 23.1 percent of men.
Another reason for the growth in the proportion of oral cancer patients who are female may be the growth in the number of number of oral cancers caused by the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus, particularly the HPV-16 strain. This is the same virus that is the causative agent, along with other versions of the virus, in more than 90 percent of all cervical cancers.
“When discovered late, the five year survival rate for oral cancer patients is about 50 percent,” said Mr. Whitehead. “The good news is that, when discovered early, the survival rate leaps to approximately 83 percent. What’s more, the treatment required is much less invasive, and much less likely to result in significant disfigurement. Our mission is to do everything we can to make women as well as men aware of these potentially life-saving facts.”