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Oral cancer screening
  • April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Oral cancer is preventable through risk factors intervention.
  • Studies show that patients who survive oral cancer, have up to 20 times higher risk of developing second tumor.

With over a year of going through the pandemic, a lot of us have become more conscious of our overall wellness.

Unlike viral infections which often catch us by surprise, there are many health conditions that can be avoided through early diagnosis and intervention. One of which is oral cancer, a disease that takes the lives of more than 330,000 people every year.

Oral cancer is preventable through risk factors intervention. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers are at higher risk of developing the disease. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has also been associated with oral cancer.

Why is it important to get an oral cancer screening?

The earlier oral cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance of a cure. In its early stages, signs of oral cancer may go unnoticed. Studies also show that oral cancer has a high risk of producing second primary tumors. This means that patients who survive oral cancer, have up to 20 times higher risk of developing second cancer.

Common signs of oral cancer

  • ulcers or patches on the lips or mouth that do not heal
  • pain, bleeding, or numbness in the lip or mouth
  • chronic sore throat, difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • a lump, crust or thickening on the lips, gums or in the mouth
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
Woman smoking

Most oral cancers are linked to smoking and tobacco use including cigarettes, pipes, bidis and kreteks, smokeless tobacco.

How can oral cancer be detected?

Many soft tissue changes in the mouth are completely pain-free and can go undiscovered for a long time. Some can develop into more serious lesions, and this is one of the many reasons why seeing your dentist regularly is important.

Routine dental check-up is not just for our teeth and gums. Your dentist will check your mouth for signs of oral cancer. This includes your lips, the linings of your cheeks, gums, tongue, tonsils, and the floor and the roof of your mouth. Your dentist will also feel your jaw and neck for abnormalities or lumps.

How does VELscope aid in oral cancer screening?

We use VELscope at the Dental Studio for enhanced oral screening. It is non-invasive, painless, and takes only a few minutes to complete. VELscope emits a safe blue light that enhances the dentist’s ability to detect abnormalities in the mouth that are often invisible to the naked eye.

How can we prevent oral cancer?

Every year, more than half a million people worldwide are diagnosed with oral cancer. The best way to prevent oral cancer is understanding and cutting down your risk factors. Eliminating tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, as well as maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will decrease the chances of developing the disease. For early detection, visit your dentist regularly.

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