Oral cancer is more common than many other types of cancer and can be life-threatening if it goes undetected. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, roughly 4,600 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. More men than women develop oral cancer, and the risk of developing it is greatest after 45 years of age.
Your risk factors increase if you smoke, chew tobacco, betel quid or areca nut, drink heavily, or expose your lips to the sun on a prolonged and repeated basis. There is also a link between oral cancer and the HPV virus.
For people whose symptoms are detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 83%
The good news is that with annual screening we can catch early warning signs – the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer patients whose symptoms are detected early is about 83%.
Your dentist is the health professional who is most likely to find early signs of oral cancer. That’s why we recommend that you schedule a screening session with us once a year. Want to know more? Talk to us about your family health history and risk factors – we can help you make an informed choice about the benefits of regular screening.
What happens during a VELscope® screening session?
Our clinic uses the VELscope® Oral Cancer Screening system. We scan your mouth and tongue with a harmless, blue light that allows us to see any unusual bumps, small lesions, or discoloured areas. If we find any warning signs, we recommend that you visit your family doctor, who will run further tests, or schedule a biopsy, to determine if oral cancer is present.