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Seattle Mariners in the Fight Against Oral Cancer

Posted on April 5, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed, resulting in over 8,000 deaths. The Seattle Mariners and DenMat in partnership with LED Medical Diagnostics – manufacturers of the VELscope Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System – are well aware of these statistics and the importance of advanced technological oral cancer screening tools. With a strong commitment to education, prevention and annual oral cancer screenings during spring training, the Mariners have set the bar for Major League Baseball(R) (MLB) teams as the leader in the fight against oral cancer.

For decades, tobacco use was the leading cause of oral cancer and while the U.S. has seen a decrease in tobacco use today, the number one cause of oral cancer is HPV16 (Human Papilloma Virus) – one of approximately 130 strands of the virus that is responsible for the majority of cervical cancers in women. The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population, are non-smokers, aged 25-50 with approximately 60% of newly diagnosed patients having HPV16.

“The Seattle Mariners are one of only a few MLB clubs utilizing this innovative technology to screen their players for oral tissue abnormalities,” said Robert Levine D.D.S., Assistant Professor, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH); Director of Laser Sciences, A.T. Still University and Clinical Director, Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD).“One of our primary missions at ASDOH is to educate the public about the seriousness of the increase in oral cancer worldwide. Education and early detection through routine screening plays a critical role in saving the lives of those who are diagnosed with this insidious disease.”

Early detection of soft tissue abnormalities is particularly important in the fight against oral cancer. The VELscope Vx is the most powerful tool available to assist dental professionals and clinicians in the discovery of a wide variety of soft tissue oral abnormalities — often before they become visible to the unassisted eye. It has the ability to detect oral abnormalities early, before they have had time to spread, potentially saving lives by means of a less invasive, more effective treatment when compared to other available screening devices on the market.

“DenMat is proud to be theworldwide leader in discovering oral tissue abnormalities,” said Brenton Lively, VELscope Senior Product Manager, DenMat. "Giving clinicians the power to see potentially life-threatening abnormalities brings a new dimension to patient care, one that we are committed to advancing on a global scale.”

“Thanks to DenMat and their advanced screening technology, our athletes and staff are receiving topnotch oral exams,” said Mariners Senior Director of Athletic Training, Rick Griffin. “We strongly encourage all Major League Baseball clubs to step up their fight against oral cancer through education and annual use of advanced oral cancer screening tools such as the VELscope.”

The VELscope's distinctive blue-spectrum light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinctive patterns — patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma or disease. The VELscope's proprietary filter makes fluorescence visualization possible, by blocking reflected blue light and enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue.

While the VELscope should not be used as a stand-alone diagnostic aid, when used in conjunction with the standard oral soft tissue exam, it provides visual information that cannot be acquired any other way. This simple to use, cordless, compact device provides a safe and affordable screening tool for multiple operatories, allowing practices to aspire to an advanced level of patient care.