Nationwide, an average of one person dies every hour from oral cancer, which is called a silent killer because it is difficult to detect and advances quickly, a Plano dentist said.
Just two short months ago, Janet Kiser's relationship with her dentist, Dr. Frank Rabinowitz, changed. He's now more than just a D.D.S. to Kiser. After he detected a tumor growing inside the roof of her mouth, Kiser calls him a lifesaver.
"The description of people who would typically have that kind of tumor was someone who chewed tobacco, or smoked a pipe, or at least smoked something," said Kiser.
Kiser said she didn't do any of those things. The fear was she could have oral cancer.
"Its a very invasive cancer. It's very fast growing and it's not always looked for," said Rabinowitz.
Thanks to a new device called VELscope, Rabinowitz was able to take a more in depth look at Kiser's growth.
"We got it and then we called Janet and asked her to come in, if I could look at her growth in her mouth with the VELscope," said Rabinowitz. "We are looking for tissues that may have changed."
After using the device's ultraviolet light, Rabinowitz was able to pin point the size and growth of the tumor, take a picture of it, and send it to the oral surgeon who would remove Kiser's tumor.
"The surgeon told me that he could actually see better margins and determine how much of the tumor he needed to remove," said Kiser.
The VELscope costs about $7,000 and the scope itself weighs less than a pound. The scanning process takes about 2 to 3 minutes for a dentist to complete.
For Kiser VELscope is a portable device she's thrilled her dentist invested in. The return is good health and a little peace of mind.
"My whole family comes here," she said. "We'll all get that check every year."
Insurance does not cover the use of the VELscope, but Rabinowitz said they only charge their patients $35 per scan. He suggested patients get a VELscope scan once a year.
For more information about a VELscope scan you can go to: http://www.rabinowitzdds.com/VELSCOPE.htm