Oral Cancer Screening

VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System

Most people are surprised to learn that one American dies every hour from oral cancer, a death rate that has remained virtually unchanged for more than 40 years.  In fact, recent statistics published by the American Cancer Society indicate that while the incidence and death rates for cancers overall have decreased, the incidence of oral cancer has increased by 5.5%, and the death rate has increased by 1.5%.

Oral cancer is far too often discovered in late-stage development, the primary reason for the consistently high death rate.  Oral cancer treatment often results in disfiguring effects on patients and can seriously compromise their quality of life.  Early detection and diagnosis can make a tremendous difference in life expectancy; oral cancer is 90% curable when found in its early stages.  Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancers are diagnosed in the late stages, III and IV, leading to a five-year survival rate of 57%.


  • Every hour of every day, one American dies of oral cancer.
  • The mortality rate associated with oral cancer has not improved significantly in the last 40 years.
  • More than 30,000 Americans will receive an oral cancer diagnosis this year.  In five years, only 57% will still be alive.
  • 25% of oral cancer victims do not use tobacco or alcohol and have no other lifestyle risk factors.
  • The death rate in the United States for oral cancer is higher than that of cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, cancer of the brain, liver, testes, kidney, or ovary.

Early Detection is Critical

Dentists and hygienists are the best overall defense against oral cancer – you are, in fact, a lifesaver.  No other medical professionals are as well positioned to address this potentially deadly disease at its earliest stage.  The key is to identify oral abnormalities at their most easily treated stage of development.

Fortunately, there’s a simple technology to help in your fight against oral cancer. VELscope Vx aids in the early identification of oral abnormalities that can lead to cancer. Cleared by the FDA, VELscope Vx allows dentists to offer superior care to patients. Annual VELscope Vx exams can be integrated with existing patient services, improving patient care and creating a positive financial impact in dental practices.

VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System: VELscope Vx is offered annually to all patients following the standard head and neck exam. Patients with a history of oral cancer should receive at least one annual VELscope Vx exam.

As is the case with most cancers, age is the primary risk factor for oral cancer. Approximately 90% of oral cancer victims are age 40 and older. Recent studies indicate that, increasingly, patients younger than age 40 are being diagnosed with oral cancer. Though tobacco and alcohol use are the primary lifestyle risk factors that contribute to the development of oral cancer, 25% of oral cancer victims do not use tobacco or alcohol, and have no lifestyle risk factors. Oral cancer affects men more than women, 2:1, but oral cancer in women is on the rise nationwide.

For more information about VELscope® Vx, please visit VELscope.com

More Resources

Famous Oral Cancer Victims

Michael Douglas: ‘Throat Cancer’ Was Really Tongue Cancer

Oral Cancer’s Toll Cruel

Colleen Zenk Pinter’s Battle with Cancer