The prevalence of oral cancer in Canada is increasing, with an estimated 4,700 people being diagnosed in 2017 alone. Oral cancer will prove fatal to 1,100 Canadians every year–that’s three people every day. These statistics are a lot to digest and can cause quite a bit of fear. This fear might be elevated when we look at the reason oral cancer death rates are high—not because it’s more difficult to remove, but because it’s usually discovered in late stage.
Dr. Giulio Spagnuolo of We Smile Dentistry wants to provide our patients with relief by educating you on what to look for and screening you for oral cancer regularly. Read on to learn more and feel free to give us a call with questions and concerns.
A lot of us feel we’re familiar with the appearance of our mouths. We conduct diligent oral hygiene routines (we certainly hope this is true!) and take note of any discomfort, pain, and/or abnormal coloring of our tongue, teeth, and gums. But what about your cheeks, hard and soft palates, uvula, tonsils, and underneath your tongue? Do you regularly examine your inner lips, lift the top and lower the bottom in order to see more of your gums?
If you don’t, there is no need to feel guilty or panicked but it’s probably a good idea to start paying closer attention to what’s going on in your mouth. Now you may be asking, “But what am I supposed to be on the lookout for?”
First, no two mouths will look identical, as evidenced by how people can be identified post-mortem with dental records. While this fact may seem morbid, it illustrates how each smile is unique, which is one of the reasons Dr. Spagnuolo loves being a dentist.
That being said, there are some telltale signs and symptoms of oral cancer that you should make We Smile Dentistry or your primary care provider aware of if you notice them:
There are factors that increase your risk of oral cancer, but it is important to note that 25% of oral cancer cases are diagnosed in Canadians with no risk factors. It’s even more crucial to be self-examining frequently and regularly screened for oral cancer by Dr. Spagnuolo if any of the following apply to you:
We Smile Dentistry uses a tool called the VelScope® to perform oral cancer screenings. The VelScope is a handpiece that emits a safe blue light, the best for observing what is called tissue fluorescence. The VelScope enables us to see cellular, structural, and/or metabolic changes that could indicate the need for testing. We may apply light pressure while examining with the light, a technique called blanching, to observe how questionable findings respond.
If anything seems suspicious, Dr. Spagnuolo will remove some cells for biopsy. If the results are negative, we can breathe a sigh of relief with you. If they happen to be malignant, it’s best that we find out early to double your chance of recovery.
If you’re concerned about oral cancer, don’t delay scheduling your visit, contact us today for peace of mind!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with your London dentist, give us a call today or schedule an appointment online! We look forward to hearing from you.
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The prevalence of oral cancer in Canada is increasing, with an estimated 4,700 people being diagnosed in 2017 alone. Oral cancer will prove fatal to 1,100 Canadians every year–that’s three people every day. These statistics are a lot to digest and can cause quite a bit of fear. This fear might be elevated when we […]