Insurer covers oral cancer screening

March 23, 2007
Guardian launches coverage for Zila Pharmaceutical's technology for oral cancer screening.

In the wake of mounting evidence about the connection between oral health and overall health, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) announced March 8 that it will offer coverage for ViziLite® Plus with TBlue630™, an oral cancer screening technology that can detect early signs of oral cancer. ViziLite Plus with TBlue630 can dramatically increase chances of survival. Guardian is one of the first benefits providers to offer ViziLite Plus coverage nationally through a dental PPO network.

Oral cancer claims the life of one American every hour, according to The American Cancer Society. However, when oral cancer is detected early, treatment is 90 percent successful and less costly. The ViziLite Plus exam is fast and painless, and can help save lives.

ViziLite Plus with TBlue630 helps dentists identify abnormal oral tissue with lumenoscopy technology. The advanced light technology enables dentists to detect abnormalities that the naked eye can't see.

"Guardian has been at the forefront of promoting effective, affordable, preventive dental care," said John Foley, vice president of Guardian Group Dental and chairman of the board for the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP). "While incidences of many cancers have been on the decline, the incidence of oral cancer has increased. Risk factors for oral cancer include smoking, heavy drinking, and genetics. Those over age 40 are most vulnerable. But according to the New York County Dental Society (NYCDS) and OralScan Laboratories, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people with no lifestyle risk factors. We are pleased to offer the cutting-edge ViziLite Plus screening technology in the fight against oral cancer."

A study commissioned by Guardian, Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Dental, revealed that 89 percent of Americans equate oral health with their overall health, and for good reason. Numerous studies have linked an unhealthy mouth to an increased risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and preterm labor.

"There are many illnesses such as oral cancer that are not regularly in the media spotlight, but are no less deadly and devastating to families," said Richard Goren, DDS, second vice president of Guardian Group Dental. "We believe that offering coverage of treatments such as adult fluoride and ViziLite Plus exams, coupled with innovative programs such as Guardian's Maximum Rollover, which allows PPO members to roll over a portion of their unused annual maximum in case the need for more extensive dental care arises in the future, go a long way to help consumers wield the power of the toothbrush in the battle against disease and illness."

Zila Chairman, President, and CEO Doug Burkett, PhD, added, "We are gratified to see the inclusion of coverage of ViziLite Plus with TBlue630. It is evidence of the fast-growing adoption of this potentially life-saving device by our nation's dentists, and it moves ViziLite Plus exams that much closer to being recognized as the standard of care across the entire profession."

For more information, please contact your local Guardian Group Representative or log on to to find a representative near you.