Oral Cancer and Vizilite

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado

Every hour, one person dies from oral cancer in America. This death rate has remained relatively unchanged for more than four decades. Surprisingly, more than 25 percent of oral cancer victims have no lifestyle risk factors. However, when oral cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is 90 percent successful.

Dr. Scott Greenhalgh is proud to offer patients throughout the Denver area an early diagnosis tool in the form of Vizilite technology. Call our office in Lakewood at 303-988-9060 to learn more.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer, also called oral cavity cancer, is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth. This type of cancer can appear on the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, or underneath the tongue. Though often treatable, oral cancer can affect your overall health, anywhere from making it difficult to eat to cancerous cells spreading to surrounding organs. Some treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and in serious cases, chemotherapy.

What Causes Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer has been linked to the following risk factors:

  • Tobacco use: Smoking or chewing tobacco including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc., can increase your risk for oral cancer.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption: A single alcoholic beverage is three ounces of hard liquor, four ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, and consuming at least one alcoholic drink per day can increase your risk.
  • Immune deficiencies: HIV, AIDS, and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), particularly HPV 16/18 can all cause cancer in the mouth.
  • Age 40+ – The older you are, the greater the risk of developing oral cancer, even if you do not use tobacco or alcohol or have any immune deficiency.

What Are the Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

When detected early on, oral cancer can be treated, so it is important to pay attention to the following warning signs that occur inside your mouth to determine whether or not it’s a symptom of oral cancer:

  • A lip or mouth sore that doesn't heal
  • A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • A growth or lump inside your mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Ear pain
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • AA sore throat or a persistent feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

If I Am Diagnosed With Oral Cancer, How Quickly Should I Seek Treatment?

The earlier you can detect oral cancer, the more successful your treatment will be. About 28% of oral cancers are detected and diagnosed in the early stage, making them treatable. If the cancer is diagnosed at this stage, the 5-year relative survival rate for all people is 86%. If some time has passed, and cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate drops down to 69%.

Vizilite Oral Cancer Screening

Scott Greenhalgh DDS offers oral cancer screening using Vizilite. Vizilite is a technology for early detection of any abnormal tissue in your mouth that is not visible during a regular exam. The early detection of precancerous tissue can minimize, even eliminate the potentially disfiguring effects of oral cancer. It can also save your life. When oral cancer is diagnosed in its later stages, treatment is expensive and has a poor survival rate.

Vizilite technology is the only device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the identification and monitoring of oral abnormalities that could lead to cancer.

How Vizilite Works

The Vizilite is used immediately after a regular visual exam.

  • Dr. Greenhalgh will have you rinse with a special solution
  • He will dim the overhead lighting
  • He will then shine the Vizilite on your mouth tissue

With the rinsing solution still on it, any abnormal tissue will appear lighter in color, as it does not absorb the light. Healthy tissue reacts differently to the rinsing solution and appears darker in color.

Please come for an annual oral cancer screening if you are at increased risk. All cancers are more successfully treated when they are diagnosed in the early stages. Oral screening is the only way to reduce the death rate of oral cancer.

Please call 303-988-9060 or click here to schedule an appointment. Our friendly staff is pleased to help patients in Lakewood and throughout the Denver area protect their oral health.

Read What Our Patients Are Saying!

"Dr. Greenhalgh has been our dentist for more than 10 years. He was referred by the Bruce Family, who are very close friends. We enjoy our care with the facility. Although we have moved to Arvada, we do not mind going out of our way to get the constant good dental care we have had all these years. Congratulations on any award you receive, Dr. Greenhalgh. You surely will receive our business now and in the future."

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