Oral Cancer Screening

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 5,000 Canadians are diagnosed each year. Oral cancer has a higher mortality rate than cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, liver cancer, and kidney cancer. Oral cancer screening at our Toronto dental office is very important; when diagnosed early, oral cancer has a 90 percent cure rate. You are at increased risk for oral cancer if you have a weaken immune system, are a tobacco user, consume heavy amounts of alcohol combined with smoking, are over age 40, and/or have prolonged exposure to the sun (lip cancer).

Importance of Early Detection

Because 25 percent of the people diagnosed with oral cancer have no risk factors, an oral cancer screening at Dr. Yolonda Cruz Dentistry in Toronto should be a routine part of dental maintenance. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and precancerous conditions. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A tiny white or red spot/sore anywhere in the mouth
  • Any sore that bleeds easily or refuses to heal
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together
  • A color change in the oral tissues
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Lumps, thickenings, rough spots, or crusty areas
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips

Screening for Oral Cancer

During an oral cancer exam, your Dr. Cruz will carefully examine your tongue, gums, the inside of your mouth, and your lips to look for spots or sores that are flat, painless, white, or red. If Dr. Cruz identifies an area of concern, she may perform a brush test, which involves scraping a miniature brush across the suspicious sore or discolored area in your mouth. The cells collected on the brush are sent to a lab for analysis. If the results show suspicious cells are present, a biopsy can then be performed.

Common Questions

I don’t drink or smoke. Why do I need an oral cancer screening?
Even though certain elements, like lifestyle, age, and heredity, can play a role in your risk for developing oral cancer, people with no known factors can still develop oral cancer. Routine checkups and screenings allow your dentist to catch problems before they escalate.

I noticed a few small sores in my mouth. Should I be worried?
If you notice any unusual spots, sores, discolorations or bumps in your mouth that refuse to heal, you should come in to our Toronto dental office for a oral cancer screening right away. Oral cancer treatment is very successful when the cancer is detected early.

Does an oral cancer screening hurt?
No. During the initial exam, Dr. Cruz will look inside your mouth to check your gums, lips, and other soft tissue for any strange spots or sores. In some cases, she may use special equipment such as VELscope or ViziLite to highlight any areas of concern. If an area looks suspicious, the doctor can perform a brush test, gently scraping cells to be sent off to the lab for further assessment.

Schedule an oral cancer screening at our Toronto dental office today!  Call our Downtown office 416-595-5490 or Etobicoke office 647-951-8888.