Oral Cancer Screening Specialist

Diane E. Casey, DDS

General Dentist & Family Dentist located in Sunnyvale, CA

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 30,000 adults contract oral cancer each year. Treating oral cancer is most effective in its earliest stages, which is why Diane E. Casey, DDS, performs comprehensive oral cancer screenings at her Sunnyvale, California, practice. She has been using the VELscope® oral cancer screening device since 2005 and her office was one of the first five in California to adopt this innovative technology, which detects oral cancer lesions that are undetectable to the naked eye. To learn more, call Dr. Casey or use the online booking tool now.

Oral Cancer Screening Q&A

What is an oral cancer screening?

An oral cancer screening is a preventive exam that checks for signs of cancer in or around your mouth. With a diagnosis and early intervention, oral cancer is very treatable. Unfortunately, the disease often advances and spreads by the time many people receive a diagnosis.

Regular screenings at Dr. Casey’s office help spot early signs of oral cancer, so you can receive treatment right away. At her practice, Dr. Casey performs oral cancer screenings with the VELscope device. The tool uses waves of blue light to detect signs of cancer in the deeper layers of your tissue. 

When do I need an oral cancer screening?

Every adult needs regular oral cancer screenings. Patients over the age of 20 should schedule an exam at least once every three years, while those over the age of 40 need an annual screening. 

While anybody can develop oral cancer, certain factors can significantly increase your risk, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Family history of oral cancer

You may need to increase the frequency of your oral cancer screenings if you have any of the above risk factors.

What are the signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer isn’t always detectable at first glance, but the most common signs include:

  • Non-healing mouth sores
  • Bleeding mouth lesions
  • Jaw pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen mouth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sore throat

While oral cancer varies from person to person, it commonly appears as white or red lesions on your tongue, lips, or inner cheeks.

What happens during an oral cancer screening?

When you arrive for your oral cancer screening, Dr. Casey visually assesses your face and mouth. She feels your face, mouth, and neck for abnormal lumps. After the visual exam, she gives you a pre-rinse and protective eyewear to prepare for the VELscope screening.

Next, Dr. Casey uses the VELscope device to shine blue light into your mouth. The healthy tissues in your mouth absorb the blue light and show up as green. Meanwhile, any unhealthy tissues take on a much darker appearance. If you have any abnormal tissue, Dr. Casey takes a small biopsy for testing.

The entire VELscope oral cancer screening takes 1-3 minutes. Not only is it quick and noninvasive, but Dr. Casey can also combine the screening with digital photography to easily store your findings.  

To learn more about oral cancer screenings, call Diane E. Casey, DDS, or schedule an appointment online now.