Oral cancer is a disease resulting from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. In 2003, an estimated 3,100 new cases of oral cancers were identified in Canada, and about 1,090 deaths occurred as a result of the disease.
People over the age of 45 are most at risk. The good news is that oral cancer can be treated successfully if caught early enough. At Oakville Dental, our dental professionals have the expertise, skill and technology to detect the early signs of oral cancer. Preventive oral health care is a priority for us and as part of your wellness exam, we offer Velscope oral cancer screenings.
The Velscope exam helps us identify, evaluate, and monitor abnormal cells that would be difficult to identify during a regular visual exam. During this painless process, our hygienist thoroughly exams the soft tissues of your mouth with a blue spectrum light. A total of two minutes is all that is necessary to detect any signs of mouth cancer.
Signs and Symptoms
- White or dark red patches in your mouth, or on your lips or tongue.
- Lumps or changes in the texture or colour of the mouth tissues.
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth; sores or patches that do not heal.
- Difficulty swallowing; changes in taste or tongue sensation.
The actual cause of oral cancer is not known but the most common risk factors include:
- Tobacco use such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco or cigars
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Oral sex
- Prolonged, repeated exposure of the lips to the sun.
- Poor diet; genetics and gender (more men develop the disease than women.)
- A history of leukoplakia – a thick, whitish-colour patch inside the mouth.
Michael Douglas: Oral Sex Caused My Cancer
Actor reveals to the Guardian that HPV, transmitted through oral sex, was responsible for his throat cancer. Michael Douglas – the star of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction – has revealed that his throat cancer was apparently caused by performing oral sex. Read more