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Zila & Experts Testify at Congressional Hearing on Innovative Technology for Veterans; Urge Broader Use of ViziLite(R) Plus by VA for Oral Cancer Screening
Date:5/13/2009

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At a congressional hearing today in Washington, DC, legislators were urged to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to immediately expand use of ViziLite(R) Plus, the FDA-cleared technology for the early detection of oral abnormalities that could lead to cancer. David Bethune, chairman and CEO of Zila, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZILA), developer and marketer of ViziLite Plus, addressed the issue in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. He was joined by Drs. David Sidransky, William Balanoff and Joel Epstein, experts on oral oncology and oral cancer diagnostics.

Noting that Veterans are at dramatically higher risk for oral cancer, due to their higher rates of smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking, Bethune said the VA should "immediately implement annual ViziLite Plus oral cancer screening of all Veterans who are seen at VA facilities nationwide. This is the best way to assure the consistent delivery of quality life-saving care to our Veterans."

Oral cancer kills one American every hour, but Veterans are 2.8 times more likely to get oral cancer than the general public. The conventional exam for oral cancer, in which dentists use only their unaided eyes and fingertips, has been shown in some studies to miss up to a third of serious lesions. Supplementing the exam with ViziLite Plus has been shown to produce 100% screening effectiveness.

"The VA currently diagnoses roughly five percent of all the nation's oral cancers," Bethune noted, "but 70 percent of the time the cancer is at late stage, when the five-year survival rate is just 26 percent. The key to survival is early detection and, even better, detection of pre-cancerous tissue. Dentists across America and around the world are dramatically improving the quality of oral cancer exams with ViziLite
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SOURCE Zila, Inc.
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