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How are Oral Cancer Scanners Used?

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At Harley Street Dental Studio, we’re passionate about promoting oral cancer screening and want all our patients to be aware of the benefits of screening as well as the symptoms they should be looking out for. Oral cancer has become increasingly prevalent in the last ten years, with the number of cases rising year on year in the UK.

What is screening and how are oral cancer scanners used?

Oral cancer screening is designed to detect abnormal changes in the soft tissue in the mouth and throat. We carry out basic checks during routine check-ups and also offer screening using an oral cancer scanner.

Our VELscope scanner enables us to identify potential abnormalities before they become visible to the human eye. As early diagnosis can increase the chances of surviving oral cancer by up to 90 percent, the importance of screening can’t be underestimated.

Screening is quick and when you come for your appointment, your dentist will explain what’s going to happen. We aim the VELscope camera at the mouth and the fluorescent light will highlight any abnormal tissue. If there are potential areas of concern, patients can then be referred for further tests and if cancer is present, treatment can be administered at the earliest possible stage.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

Oral cancer affects more than 7,000 people every year in the UK, but many people are still unaware of the symptoms. We strongly encourage our patients to contact us or their GP if they notice signs such as:

  • red or white patches in the mouth
  • abnormal swelling
  • lumps in the mouth or throat
  • persistent oral pain or sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • slow-healing mouth ulcers (healing time of at least 2 weeks)
  • unexplained oral bleeding
  • unexplained ear pain
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