Oral cancer results from the abnormal growth in your lips, tongue, mouth or throat. This disease claimed the lives of 1,090 Canadians in 2003, with nearly 3,200 cases diagnosed that year.
When detected early, oral cancer can be successfully treated. It is imperative that you know the early signs of this cancer and see Alberta dentist Dr. Gordon Chee regularly so that the dental team at the Aesthetic Dental Studio can identify any precancerous condition. Early detection is essential because about 70 percent of the time this disease is not visible to dental hygienists until it has reached advanced stages. At this point, the mortality rate is high.
About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer typically begins as small, unnoticed white or red sores or spots anywhere in your oral cavity. Other warning signs include:
- Sores that bleed easily or refuse to heal
- Tenderness, pain or numbness anywhere in your mouth or lips
- Trouble chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw or tongue
- Change in the colour of your oral tissue
- A lump, rough spot, or small eroded area in your oral cavity
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
Oral cancer can affect any area of your mouth or throat, including your:
- Gum tissue
- Cheek lining
- Hard or soft palate
In response to an increase in the incidents of oral cancer, the Vancouver-based company LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. developed the VELscope System in partnership with the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA).
This technology works by emitting a blue light into your oral cavity that causes the tissue from the surface of your epithelium down to your stroma to illuminate. Abnormal tissue appears as an irregular dark area that stands out against healthy tissue that glows green. Dr. Chee will be able to tell the difference in the way your tissue is illuminated, and whether the early signs of oral cancer are present.
While oral cancer can strike anyone, it most commonly occurs in people ages 45 and older who use tobacco in any form. Alcohol use in combination with tobacco use increases the risk significantly, and continual sun exposure increases the risk of lip cancer. Recent studies show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may help prevent the development of oral lesions that are potentially cancerous.
For more information, see Questions about Oral Cancer.
If it is time for your routine exam or oral cancer screening in Calgary or surrounding areas of Alberta, please contact the Aesthetic Dental Studio by phone at 403-543-4600 or online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gordon Chee.