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The Fight against Oral Cancer

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The Fight against Oral Cancer

The Fight against Oral Cancer

It is an established fact that an early detection is the key to the treatment of oral cancer. However, dentists often differ in their assessment of what is the best way to treat oral cancer. Oral cancer is the sixth largest killer of cancer patients in the country.

The All Smiles dental clinic demonstrated a new way of detecting oral cancer in patients with the use of VizLite, a high tech screening device.

The VizLite system uses a raspberry vinaigrette flavored mixture that is to be swished around the mouth. This is to be done for around 45 seconds after which he dentist would use special goggles and a chemical light stick to examine around the mouth. The whole area is minutely examined and this includes the cheeks, the gums and the area lying between the cheek and the teeth. Special attention is also paid to the area under the tongue. It takes about three minutes to complete the examination.

However, some dentists at the Culpeper Dental Associates have voiced reservations about the use of this technology. They insist that a visual exam, including feeling around the sides of the cheeks and the area between the cheek and the teeth, are essential in determining the existence of a diseased condition. The doctors also examine the neck, lips, face and other areas for swollen lymph nodes or lumps. The anterior neck muscles are also examined. The dentist insists that this process is much better at estimating the risk of the patient in the initial stages.

Dentists have also voiced reservations about the costs of the VizLite process. An examination costs around $71 and it is not covered by health insurance. Most dentists report that patients refuse to take up this exam because of the prohibitive costs.

Some dentists also have reservations about whether the process is actually needed. Some feel that it is just an adjunct. It is ok if you have it, but if you want to use it on patients; you will first have to secure their approval. Most patients refuse it because of the costs. However, dentists express concern about the practice of preferring a visual examination. They feel that this often results in the condition not being detected till an advanced stage. You can visually detect the abnormalities when the disease has already spread to a different organ.

Whatever the method that is employed, all dentists agree that it is essential to examine the oral cavity for signs of cancer on a regular basis. Oral cancer is dangerous, if rare. This is because the mouth is one of the areas which have the highest amount of blood flow in the body. These are the common symptoms which should make you seek immediate medical help

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Bleeding
  • Loose teeth
  • Lump in the neck
  • Earache

Common risk factors include alcohol consumption, smoking and a diet that is low in fruit and vegetables.

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