VELscope Oral Cancer Screening System
More than 480,000 new cases of oral and throat cancers are diagnosed each year, and over 35,000 of those cases are right here in the United States. Oral cancer kills one person every hour in the U.S., and without proper detection methods, a person may have oral cancer and not even know it. In almost all cases of oral cancer, early detection plays a major role in a patient's chances of survival. By diagnosing and treating oral cancer early, a patient's five year survival rate is 80-90% greater.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Frequent use of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Genetics (a family history of oral cancer or any type of cancer)
- Excessive exposure to the sun at a young age
- HPV human pappiloma virus.
While men above the age of 50 are typically at the most risk for oral cancer, there has been a recent increase in the number of women with oral cancer due to a connection between oral cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV-16). HPV can cause cancers in the back of the throat, most commonly in the base of the tongue and tonsils, in an area known as the "oropharynx." These cancers are called "oropharyngeal cancers."
How VELscope works
The VELscope screening system consists of a specialized white light source and viewing scope that make it easier for your doctor to look closely at the tissues inside your mouth. Normal tissues will almost glow a bright green color. Abnormal tissue shows up much darker under the special light.
An abnormal screening does not always mean that the patient has cancer. If an abnormal screening occurs, your doctor may schedule a second scan later to see if the dark spots disappear, or may choose to perform a gentle, non-invasive brush biopsy to make sure it's not cancer.
I cannot say enough about how comfortable I am made to feel during every appointment. Dr. Watkins is a kind and gentle dentist and I recommend him to everyone, but most of all, I recommend him to those who have ever had a bad experience at a dentist.~ Terre S. Read More
I have been going to Dr. Watkins for many years. After I moved from Bloomington (to over 50 miles away), Dr. Watkins is the only doctor that I keep coming back to Bloomington to see. I trust him completely. He and his staff are so caring, that I no longer dread going to the dentist as I did when I was a child.~ Terre S. Read More
When I first moved to Bloomington, one of my first tasks was finding a new family dentist. One of the reasons I picked Dr. Watkins' office was because his advertisement on the back of my church bulletin said 'Relax, we cater to cowards!' Since I had some painful memories of dental procedures as a child, this slogan gave me hope.~ Vallia Read More
I have been going to this office for probably 25 years or more and I have NEVER been mistreated or disappointed in any way. Even as a child I can remember how careful and caring they all were and continue to be to this day. I have recommended many people to them throughout the years and like me, I have yet to have anyone who was/is disappointed with their service.~ Rex V. Read More
The technology is strictly state-of-the-art. The receptionists are extremely friendly, accommodating, flexible, The doctors are understanding. extremely kind, reassuring, gentle, encouraging, and technically superior.~ Robert R. Read More
Drs. Watkins and their staff provide excellent customer service and exceptional dental care, The entire office is very well organized every step of the way… from scheduling your appointment through each step of your visit and with follow up, my family has been patients of Dr. Watkins for 15+ years!~ Ann Read More
The staff at Dr. Watkins' office always treats me with prompt, friendly, and courteous service! It's as if I were lifelong friends, or yet: family! I have come to expect superior professional service, and with each visit, from cleaning to crowns, the complete staff continues to help me at feel at ease.~ Louella S. Read More
I have been coming to Dr. Watkins since I was little and I'm now in my 30s. There is no one else that I would trust to take care of my smile. My daughter also loves to come here! Drs. Watkins and the office staff are awesome!~ Cami Read More
I work in a medical office as well, and understand the daily grind of repeatedly doing the same thing and seeing the same appointment types... I know that my daughter's appointment was not the only one that day, but the staff made us both feel comfortable, heard, special, and not rushed. I appreciate that!~ Piper R. Read More
They are extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to take the time to explain the what and why of their treatment. This is simply an amazing group of people who are the best at what they do.~ Rex V. Read More
My family have been patients of Dr. Watkins for 15+ years. We have always had very positive and caring experiences with Dr. Watkins and his staff.~ Ann Read More
Dr. Watkins and the office staff are awesome! They treat me like I'm just part of their family. Make your appointment with him today! You won't be sorry!~ Cami Read More
From the minute I walked into his office the very first time, I felt that I would be well cared for, and I have been, every time. Whether it was another crown, a simple filling, or a routine cleaning, my comfort and care has always been their top priority~ Vallia Read More
Dr. Watkins is an excellent dentist with an excellent staff. You never have to wait long, you are always met with competent, very friendly receptionists, and the hygienists and Dr. Watkins themselves are very up to date and explain things very well. The office is also exceptionally clean. Wish I could give more than 5 stars!~ Amy Read More
The medical assistants are top of the line, gentle, reassuring, and knowledgeable. Dr. Watkins is at the top of his game—extremely kind, reassuring, gentle, encouraging, and technically superior.~ Robert R. Read More
I am thrilled to be a patient in this practice and would recommend them to everyone... enthusiastically, and without hesitation!~ Robert R. Read More