Oral Cancer Screening
In Canada, Oral cancer is the 13th most common cancer among all cancers reported. Oral cancers are often fatal with higher mortality rate compared to breast and prostate cancers. One of the causes of higher fatalities in patients with oral cancers is delay in detecting oral cancer, especially since there are no urgent or alarming symptoms such as pain.
Oral cancers can be successfully treated if detected at a very early stage and that’s where the dentist plays a vital role in preventing the serious consequences of the disease. A dental exam or a screening for oral cancer once a year can save your life or the life of a loved one.
Oral cancer is the abnormal growth of cells of the tissues in the oral cavity. The most common areas affected by oral cancer are the floor of the mouth, inner surfaces of the lips, inside of cheeks, tongue, gums, and roof of the mouth, around the wisdom tooth etc. Normally, the cells of healthy tissues are resistant to damage, but they may turn into cancer cells with repeated aggravation from smoking, alcohol consumption, repeated friction and injury from a sharp tooth.
If you suspect that you or any of your family members or friends have any of the signs or symptoms indicative of oral cancer, you must get an oral cancer screening done immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The following signs and symptoms could indicate the onset of oral cancer and may need the immediate attention of a dentist to prevent further progression.
- Change in colour and texture of oral tissues such as white or red patches on the inner surface of your cheeks
- Non-healing sores or ulcers
- Bleeding, pain and numbness in oral tissues
- Lumps in the mouth or throat
- Difficulty swallowing food or a persistent sore throat
The possibility of developing Oral Cancer is high if you have one or two, or all of the following risk factors such as:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco products
- Alcohol consumption
- Prolonged lip exposure to sun
- Age over 40 years
- Human Papilloma Virus Infection
- Research studies suggest HPV-16 is associated with oral cancers.
Periodic visits to a dentist for a dental exam would help to detect early stages of cancer and successfully treat it. Oral cancers can spread to other parts of the body which can be life-threatening. Hence, if you have a lifestyle that is prone to oral cancer, regular screening for oral cancer can help address it and prevent spreading to other parts of the body.
Screening for Oral Cancer
A dental exam or a screening for oral cancer once a year can save your life or the life of a loved one. Dentists are experts at detecting various undiagnosed medical conditions and cancers based on oral signs and symptoms. Most patients do not realize the importance of dental exams and the significant role it plays in the prevention of diseases.
Oral cancer may leave one with devastating disfigurement, speech impediment and swallowing impairment. Although these problems can be corrected later, regular screening can prevent such horrific deformities.
As part of the screening process, your dentist will conduct a detailed examination of all the structures in the mouth and check for any abnormalities or changes associated with medical conditions and cancers.
If a malignancy (cancerous tissue) is suspected, your dentist would request information about your personal habits, lifestyle habits and health history. This helps your dentist to counsel you on potential health concerns and proceed with further investigations, diagnosis and treatment.
VELscope® is the latest technology that is used in the detection of oral tissue abnormalities including cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions. It can also be used as a supplement to traditional intra and extra oral, head and neck exams. A dentist performs this test in the dental office, often, as a part of the dental exam. Screening for oral cancer may take from 2 to 5minutes or more.
Suspected malignant tissues are sent for biopsy, which involves slicing or cutting a small portion of the suspected tissue and sending the sample for microscopic examination. A few imaging tests like X-rays, CT Scans, Ultrasound, MRI are also required to determine whether oral cancer has invaded the jaw bone.
Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening:
- Life Saving: Oral Cancer Screening can save lives, as early detection during dental exams helps to prevent the progression to advanced stages of cancer.
- Preventive: Your dentist will guide you on a few preventive methods, such as the right diet, maintain good oral hygiene (right brushing and flossing techniques), correct lifestyle habits, HPV vaccines etc.
- Quick Assessment: The screening with VELscope® is a quick 2-3 minute exam and the patient can resume work immediately.
- Convenient: Oral cancer screening is quick and comfortable
- Cost-effective: It is an inexpensive procedure and can be done without the cost burden on the patient.
Why Choose Langley Dental Centre for Oral Cancer Screening in Langley BC?
Oral cancer screening is a quick exam that takes a few minutes with the help of VELscope® and digital x-rays. Our dentists are empathetic to the patient’s apprehensions and concerns and ensure that they spend time with patients explaining the problem and the solution.
We also educate our patients about the prevention and about the possible risk factors of neglecting lesions suspected to turn into oral cancers. Dental exams take just an hour of your time. It is comfortable and very important to make sure you have no signs or potential risk factors.
Langley Dental Centre has a calm and hygienic ambience with friendly staff which puts patients care at the heart of its service. Our dentists hear to your apprehensions about dental care and discuss the dental treatment options, the costs and the time involved.
We are currently accepting new patients and offer oral cancer screening to all our new patients. Oral cancer screening appointments are available on weekdays, weekends and evenings too.
We accept all insurances and all major credit and debit cards. Our dentists will discuss with you, about any findings, the treatment options available, as well as about the costs and time involved. We can submit a pre-treatment plan to your dental plan administrator to obtain a pre-determination of benefits.
If you are looking for a positive dental experience in Langley BC, then Langley Dental Centre is the place to visit.