The Velscope is an exciting new technology that aides in the detection of early signs of oral cancer. Currently, at your recall exam Dr. Fugaro always performs the traditional visual soft tissue and oral cancer screening, this will continue at all recall exams.
Our goal is to have all patients, 18 years and older screened with VELscope annually in order to provide a more comprehensive soft tissue screening.
There will be an additional fee for the VELscope screening, which may be covered by some insurance plans. Even if it is not covered we strongly recommend that patients have this exam in light of current evidence concerning oral cancer.
Unlike many other forms of cancer the incidence of oral cancer in the United States is actually increasing each year. While tobacco and alcohol use have been the main risk factors, it has been recently established that certain strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is, know to cause cervical cancer has been strongly associated with oral cancer as well. Oral cancer that is detected in its early stages has a 5-year survival rate around 90%, however when detected in later stage the survival rate is around 20%.
This screening exam is a smart precaution, just as annual mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopies and prostate exams are. We feel that this gives us a great tool to increase our level of care that we provide to you. Currently, we are the only dental office in Kitsap County offering this important screening. Hopefully, you can see the value in this screening exam and help us in our efforts to prevent oral cancer today.