Oral Cancer Screening & Exam

Approximately 45,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in 2015.  Oral cancer causes over 8,650 deaths each year and only slightly more than half of oral cancer patients survive five years after being diagnosed.  The death rate is high because oral cancer is often discovered late in its development.  To address and reduce the incidence of oral cancer, our practice has incorporated the Microlux/DL exam into our oral screening standard of care.  We find that using the Microlux/DL along with a visual oral cancer examination improves the ability to identify a suspicious area at its earliest stages.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is a broad term that includes cancers of the lips, tongue, mouth and throat.

What are the risk factors for Oral Cancer?

  • Tobacco use (all forms of tobacco smoking and chewing, including smokeless cigarettes)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • HPV-16 Virus (human papilloma versus version 16) This is a common sexually transmitted virus.
  • Age 40+
  • Family history of oral cancer
  • Previous history of oral cancer or precancerous lesions

       However, 25% of all oral cancer victims have no risk factors

How does Microlux/DL work?

The patient will swish around a liquid solution in his/her mouth for two minutes and then spit it out.  Next, a specially designed light will be passed over the oral tissue of the patient by Dr. Dornin.  Normal healthy tissue will absorb the light and appear dark, abnormal tissue will appear white. If abnormal tissue is identified, Dr. Dornin will determine what the next appropriate steps will be.  Typically, the doctor will send the patient for a biopsy of the tissue to determine if it is cancerous.

What are the benefits of Microlux/DL?

  • Quite simply, the main benefit is that it can save your life.  When oral cancer is found at the earliest stages of development, oral cancer has an 80-90% survival rate.
  • Microlux/DL enables a dentist to see abnormal tissue that they would not be able to see by a visual examination alone.

For more information about oral cancer visit http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/