Oral Cancer Screening
As part of every new patient exam and every annual oral care visit, we perform an oral cancer screening. This is a visual and tactile inspection of your lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. Risk factors such as tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, the combined use of tobacco and alcohol, excessive unprotected exposure to the sun, low intake of fruits and vegetables, the use of betel nuts and bedis, age, HPV viral infections may mean that we include the use of the Velscope, a new special light, that can help us to find cancer in its early development.
In the early stages of oral cancer’s development, it often is painless, and the physical signs may not be obvious. This makes it a very dangerous disease. Regular screening, combined with a person’s knowledge of the warning signs and symptoms, will allow its discovery in the earliest possible stages, when cure and survival are most likely. Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can be detected.
Early signs and symptoms may include: red and/ or white discolourations in your mouth, sores which do not heal within 14 days, a hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time. More advanced signs and symptoms may include: a sensation that something is stuck in your throat, numbness in your mouth, difficulty moving your jaw or tongue, difficulty swallowing, ear pain on one side only, sores that don’t heal even after treated, a lump or thickening which develops in the mouth.
Be aware, avoid risk factors and come in for your regular annual screening.