Oral Cancer Screening

An oral cancer screening is conducted by a dental professional, using Velscope in conjunction with a thorough examination. Velscope is a non-invasive small hand held device used at MD Anderson for early detection of abnormal tissue. During the screening Velscope emits a harmless, bright blue light that fluoresces and exposes any abnormalities within the oral cavity. Through palpation the doctor will then proceed to examine the oral soft tissues, which include; the tongue, hard and soft palate, throat, lymph nodes and the mucosal area. Oral cancer has no specific target; it can happen to anyone and at any time. Early detection can save your life, stay informed and proactive in taking quality care of your health.


Q: Who should have an oral cancer screening?

A: Every patient should have an oral cancer screening regardless of age and healthy lifestyle, especially

those who fall into a high risk category. Even though some patients may not be at high risk, early

detection is still essential to beating oral cancer.

Q: What puts me at a high risk for oral cancer?

A: High risk factors include; tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of cancer, poor

diet and the presence of HPV virus.

Q: How often should I receive the screening?

A: The doctor recommends receiving the screening at least once a year. Our practice offers the oral

cancer screening at every routine visit.

Q: What if the doctor finds an abnormality within my mouth?

A: Not to worry, an abnormality does not necessarily mean a patient has cancer! Some benign lesions will show up on the screen. Your doctor will be able to determine what will require additional testing.