LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (LED Medical, the Company), a developer of tissue visualization detection technologies for the medical industry, said today that the recent passing of legendary film critic Roger Ebert shows that oral cancer can strike anyone regardless of age, wealth or fame.
Historically, the vast majority of oral cancer victims were older, tobacco-using males, said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its LED Dental subsidiary, manufacturer of the VELscope Vx® Enhanced Oral Assessment device. Today, however, due to the almost epidemic growth in cases caused by the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus, oral cancer is striking young males and females who have never used tobacco. This is why oral cancer is one of the few types of cancer that has not experienced a significant reduction in mortality over the past several decades, and why health experts recommend that even teenagers be given an annual oral cancer exam.
Mr. Whitehead stressed that while virtually everyone is at risk for oral cancer, exams are quick, painless, affordable and convenient. The natural time to get an oral cancer exam is during your regular dental hygiene check-up. Your dentist or hygienist should first perform a conventional exam by palpating the neck and face to check for any suspicious lumps, and then visually inspecting the oral cavity for any visible lesions, he said. Ideally, the oral cavity will then be viewed with the hand-held VELscope Vx®, the first device cleared by the FDA and Health Canada to help clinicians detect cancerous and precancerous lesions that might not be apparent to the naked eye. VELscopes tissue fluorescence visualization technology has made it the number one adjunctive oral screening device in the world, with over 25 million exams conducted to date, said Mr. Whitehead. Numerous clinical studies and over six years of real-world experience attest to the efficacy of our technology, as it continues to receive rave reviews from dental professionals and patients alike.
Oral cancer can strike anyone, including the rich and famous. Below is a partial list of celebrities who have been affected by, and in most cases died from, this often deadly and disfiguring disease.
TV & Film
Colleen Zenk Pinter*
Literature & Publishing
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Eddie van Halen*
Diane von Furstenberg*
Ulysses S. Grant
The key to reducing the toll taken by oral cancer is detecting it in earlier stages, said Mr. Whitehead. Currently, oral cancer is most often detected in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is under 50 percent. If discovered early, however, the survival rate leaps to over 80 percent. Enhancing early detection is our mission, and while we are proud of the progress we and the dental community have made, we have only scratched the surface of the potential good we can do.
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