LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (LED Medical, the Company), a developer of tissue visualization detection technologies for the medical industry, today called for dental practices to conduct conventional oral cancer exams on all adult patients on at least an annual basis.
"While we of course want dental practices to be using our VELscope® Vx system for an adjunctive exam, we have always stressed that this should be preceded by a conventional clinical exam," said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its LED Dental subsidiary, the manufacturer of the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System. The conventional intra and extra oral head and neck examination consists of an extraoral visualization and palpation of the head and neck followed by an intraoral visual inspection with the naked eye and palpation of all oral structures. He said, "Conducting this exam on an annual basis is especially crucial for practices that do not use an adjunctive system like the VELscope® Vx."
Mr. Whitehead pointed out that independent surveys have indicated that the majority of patients say they have never had an oral cancer exam. "This is deeply troubling given that health experts recommend that everyone over the age of 18 should receive an oral cancer exam at least once a year, particularly now that many oral cancers are caused by exposure to a particular strain of the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV-16)," he said. "While we know that many dental practices are in fact conducting annual oral cancer exams, the survey findings suggest that even more practices are not, and that some practices might not be conducting these exams at all."
According to Mr. Whitehead, the key to reducing the number of lives lost to oral cancer is earlier detection of the disease, and the key to earlier detection is more frequent and more thorough oral cancer exams. Currently, the majority of oral cancers are detected in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is only about 50 percent. The good news: when discovered early, the survival rate leaps to between 80 and 85 percent.
"We feel that the best chance for early detection is when the dental practice annually gives all adult patients both a conventional clinical exam and an adjunctive exam with the VELscope® Vx. An important additional benefit is that both the conventional and adjunctive exams also help detect a host of other oral diseases," said Mr. Whitehead. "While we take great pride and pleasure in saying that the VELscope® Vx is the worlds most popular and most effective adjunctive examination device, we also feel a moral responsibility to say that practices should be conducting annual conventional clinical exams regardless of whether they use our technology."
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