Every year, countless lives are significantly impacted by oral cancer - a prevalent and life-threatening condition if not detected early. While it's an affliction that we hope no one has to endure, oral cancer does not discriminate and can affect anyone. As such, regular screening for oral cancer, especially during dental checkups, is paramount. In Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental, we have taken strides to ensure that our patients are provided with the best preventive measures, including utilizing a groundbreaking device known as the Velscope.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore somewhere in the oral cavity. These might be asymptomatic initially and hence can go unnoticed by an individual. It is here that routine dental check-ups gain critical importance. Regular dental examinations give us an opportunity to scrutinize every corner of your oral cavity, allowing for the possibility of early detection and, subsequently, an improved prognosis.
Importance of Early Detection
Detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages is crucial. The five-year survival rate for oral cancer patients is considerably higher when the disease is localized at the onset. According to the American Cancer Society, if detected early when the disease is still localized to the primary site, the 5-year survival rate is 84%. However, if the disease has metastasized to other regions, this survival rate plummets to 39%.
Sadly, a significant percentage of oral cancer is typically discovered in late stages when the prognosis is poorer. This is often due to a lack of routine oral examinations. By the time patients notice something amiss, the disease may have progressed significantly. Therefore, regular dental examinations are not merely about maintaining oral hygiene and dental health; they are also about early detection and prevention of potentially life-threatening conditions like oral cancer.
Velscope: A Revolutionary Tool in Oral Cancer Detection
In our relentless pursuit to provide top-notch care and diagnostic capabilities to our patients, at Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental, we employ the use of Velscope for oral cancer screening during regular dental check-ups.
Velscope is a non-invasive, hand-held device that employs fluorescence visualization technology to detect abnormal tissue in the oral cavity, which could be indicative of oral cancer or pre-malignant dysplasia. Velscope's distinct blue-spectrum light allows us to spot changes and lesions in the mouth that would otherwise go unnoticed under regular white light.
Velscope's technology does not merely help detect oral cancer; it also aids in detecting pre-cancerous changes. Early intervention in these cases could potentially prevent the progression of disease to oral cancer.
Why Choose Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental?
At Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental, we deeply care about the overall health of our patients. We firmly believe that the mouth is the gateway to overall health. We advocate for regular check-ups, not just to keep your smile at its brightest but also to ensure early detection of potentially serious conditions such as oral cancer.
With the integration of Velscope into our dental practice, we are at the forefront of oral cancer detection in Toronto. Our dedicated and professional team is equipped to provide you with the highest standard of dental care, while also ensuring that you are at ease throughout your visit.
Remember, early detection of oral cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. We urge everyone to make regular dental check-ups an integral part of their healthcare regimen. Take the right step today for a healthier tomorrow by making an appointment at Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental. Your health is our priority.
Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can fight oral cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Cancers:
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that starts in the mouth or oral cavity. This can include cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat).
What are the main risk factors for oral cancer?
The main risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, sometimes called "chewing tobacco" or "snuff"), heavy alcohol use, excessive sun exposure to your lips, a sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, and a weakened immune system.
What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer can include a sore that doesn't heal, a lump or thickening in the oral soft tissues, soreness or a feeling that something is caught in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, a white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth, swelling of the jaw, and voice changes.
How is oral cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis of oral cancer generally begins with a physical examination of the mouth and throat. If the doctor finds any signs of cancer, a biopsy may be performed where a sample of cells is taken for laboratory testing. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans may also be used to determine whether the cancer has spread.
What are the stages of oral cancer?
The stages of oral cancer range from I (1) to IV (4). The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage IV, means the cancer has spread more. Stage 0 is used to describe non-invasive cancers that remain within their original location and stage IV describes invasive cancers that have spread outside the primary location to other parts of the body.
How is oral cancer treated?
Treatment options for oral cancer include surgery to remove the cancerous growth, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, or a combination of treatments. The choice of treatment depends largely on the stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and personal preferences.
What are the survival rates for oral cancer?
Survival rates for oral cancer can vary greatly depending on the stage of the cancer when it is initially discovered. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer that has not spread beyond the primary site is about 84%. For those with cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the rate is 64%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 39%.
Can oral cancer be prevented?
While not all cases of oral cancer can be prevented, the risk can be significantly reduced by avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol use, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, practicing safe sun exposure, getting vaccinated against HPV, and having regular dental exams that include an oral cancer screening.
Is oral cancer common?
Oral cancer is not as common as some other types of cancer, but it's not rare either. According to the American Cancer Society, about 54,000 people in the U.S. get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer each year.
How often should I get screened for oral cancer?
There's no standard schedule for oral cancer screening. However, your dentist likely will perform an oral cancer screening during your regular dental check