Do you know when your last oral cancer screening was? If you visit your dentist on a regular basis then chances are good that you have had one and you might not have even known it, as it is a simple but very important part of your routine check-up.
Dentists are often the first line of defense against oral cancer, as they are able to detect early signs of the disease, and are able to help you to understand your risks and take preventative measures. While the five-year survival rate hovers around 64 per cent for those diagnosed with the disease, encouragingly, when found at early stages of development, oral cancers can have an 80 to 90 per cent survival rate.
Unfortunately, oral cancer is something we all need to be cognizant of. It can happen to anyone. Although there are certain risk factors that contribute to a higher incidence of oral cancer (these including tobacco use, alcohol use, sun exposure, immune deficiencies and the human papilloma virus) the fastest growing number of diagnosed cases is occurring in young, healthy non-smokers. In the year 2007 alone, the number of people diagnosed with a form of oral cancer jumped by 11 per cent, with numbers seeing a consistent rise in the subsequent years as well.
An oral cancer screening is a simple, painless process. The dentist will gently feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face and oral cavity including, under the tongue, and will check for any sores or discolored tissue. The entire process takes only moments.
With April being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a great time for us all to get screened. A very easy cancer to diagnose, late-stage discovery of the disease happens most often because of inaction — so don’t delay! While the signs and symptoms of oral cancer can be easy to for us to miss, they are easy for your dentist to spot.
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. If you develop a lump or sore that last more than two weeks, don’t ignore it! Should you discover something suspicious, make an appointment for a prompt examination. Early treatment may well be the key to complete recovery, so the importance of a regular oral screening test administered by your dentist cannot be underscored enough.
North Burnaby Dental Group is pleased to conduct breakthrough screening tests for oral cancer using the Velscope, which is a non-invasive, hand-held device designed to easily examine the mouth for the early detection of a wide variety of oral diseases, including pre-cancer and cancer. By shining a specialized blue light into the oral cavity which enhances the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue, your dentist will be able to identify any unhealthy or pre-cancerous cells — and possibly save your life. Why not book your next check-up and screening now?