Did you know April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Most recently I attended an online training course for the Velscope. Velscope is an amazing technology that is designed to provide a detailed assessment of intra oral tissues. The Velscope is used to examine all soft and hard tissues. Oral Cancer detection with the use of the Velscope is increased 30 times in comparison to examination of tissues with the unaided eye. When i detect a suspicious lesion on the Velscope, I will first discuss the findings with my patient. My office has a camera that can photograph the lesion for documentation and patient education. Most of us already have a camera that can serve this function.
It’s imperative to have a “next action step” in mind when a suspicious lesion is discovered. My personal plan is to sample the area with a CDX biopsy kit. The kits are inexpensive to purchase. Mine are ordered from Schein for under $200 (a kit of 12).
The CDX is easy to use: swab the lesion with the CDX brush, place in the enclosed vial and send for sampling. When the results arrive, personally phone your patient to discuss the results. Do this immediately: your patients are anxiously waiting.
If your results indicate an abnormality, personally schedule a consult with an oral surgeon. Take the time to phone the surgeon in your area to discuss your inclusion of Velscope and CDX in your practice. Elicit the support or your surgeon prior to the referral. If your surgeon is not supportive of your efforts, choose another referring surgeon. Be certain to understand your surgeon’s philosophy and probable treatment when a CDX reading is unfavorable.
Follow up on the scheduled appointment day. Place a reminder on your daily schedule to be certain this doesn’t “fall thru the cracks”.
Oral cancer has an 80% mortality rate: even with early detection.Make a difference in April and every month!