Dental Education offers oral cancer screening
SFCC’s Dental Education department will hold an oral cancer screening clinic for SFCC employees on Friday Oct. 23, 8 a.m.-noon.
“Twenty percent of all cancer deaths are related to oral cancer,” said Dr. Deborah Milliken, Dental Hygiene professor. Once associated only with heavy smokers or drinkers, oral cancer is being found in frightening rates in non-smokers and non-drinkers alike. Exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV-16 and HPV-18) is the fastest growing risk factor for oral cancer. This is the same virus that is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women. The HPV virus presents an increase in occurrence of oral cancer in five times more people under the age of 40, and it has been recommended that all patients over the age of 17 be screened annually.
The screening is a simple process that only takes about 15 minutes. Following a visual examination of the entire mouth, a fluorescent light is shown into the mouth with a VELscope. “Cancer cells will fluoresce,” Dr. Milliken said. “The VELscope allows us to see cells that are not visible to the naked eye.”
An oral surgeon will also be present during the screenings to provide guidance to patients if any abnormal cells are detected.
Employees are urged to schedule an appointment in September for a free screening by calling SFCC Dental Education at ext. 7020. The SFCC Dental Education department will also hold a free, oral cancer screening clinic that is open to the public, Friday, Nov. 13, 8 a.m.-noon.