Our Free Oral Cancer Screenings Were A Huge Success!
On April 17th, in honour of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we offered free VELScope oral cancer screenings at all of our lower mainland locations. The funds raised through donations totalled approximately $1,500 and have been donated to the BC Cancer Agency. Our screenings also raised awareness about the dangers of oral cancer and brought peace of mind to many people who now know that they are oral cancer free. We want to say thank you to all of our new and existing patients who took the time to be screened and gave donations to support cancer research.
Many people are unaware of the existence of oral cancer screening tools like VELScope, which is one of the most effective early detection tools that dentists have at their disposal, and is an important part of a regular checkup. It only takes five minutes and it can save your life.
Why Should I Be Screened?
Did you know that 4,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year in Canada? One person’s life is claimed by oral cancer every hour and the rate of occurrence of oral cancer is steadily rising. Issues in the mouth affect every part of your life from eating and speaking to your mood and comfort level. Oral cancer not only endangers your overall health but can be extremely painful and can make speaking, eating, and drinking nearly impossible in severe cases. Oral cancer can target anyone without warning, which makes bi-annual trips to the dentist for screenings the best way to monitor your oral health and stop oral cancer in its tracks.
Why Use VELScope?
Screening for oral cancer is an essential part of ensuring overall health because, unfortunately, oral cancer has very few visible signs that can be seen with the naked eye. VELScope is a tool developed here in BC that uses a blue light to make it much easier for dentists to detect anything unusual in the mouth that otherwise could have been overlooked. The entire process is extremely quick, only taking five minutes, and is pain-free, making it the most comfortable and efficient way of ensuring your oral health.
Who Gets Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is more common in those over 40 years old and generally affects more men than women. The HPV-16 virus has been linked to oral cancer, which likely contributes to the fact that the cancer is being found more and more in people as young as 20 years old. Long exposure to the sun also increases the chances of oral cancer. In short, there is no concrete way to predict who will be affected by oral cancer, the reality is that it can affect anyone. This means that everyone can benefit from being screened regularly.
What does Oral Cancer Look Like?
Early signs of oral cancer include wounds in or around the mouth that will not heal, bleeding, white or red patches on the skin, lumps, thickening skin, soreness in the jaw, throat or ears, difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking, and loose fitting teeth or dentures. Oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Without diagnosis and treatment symptoms become progressively worse as the cancers grows.
How Accurate is a VELScope Screening?
VELScope is not a diagnostic tool, meaning it does not diagnose patients. This means that it cannot create false positives and instead relies on the expertise of the dentist to analyse the health of your mouth. The VELScope is a tool that uses blue light diodes which highlight the difference between healthy tissues and abnormal tissues in the mouth, making it much easier for dentists to identify areas of the mouth that need further investigation. Because VELScope leaves the diagnosing to the dental professionals, the accuracy of a screening is very high.
How Treatable is Oral Cancer?
When detected early, most oral cancers are treatable. There are a variety of highly effective treatment options depending on how severe the cancer is, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, drug therapy, and surgery, if needed. However, the key to most effectively treating oral cancer is detecting it as early as possible. With regular screenings, the chances of detecting cancer at an early stage is hugely improved, and survival rates are increased by a whopping 80%.
How Much Does a VELScope Screening Cost?
VELScope screenings at all of our 123 Dentist locations are covered by Medical Service Plans for patients who are considered at risk. Otherwise, when added to another service, screenings are quite affordable, and definitely worth it.
Check out our gallery of oral cancer-free smiles in the gallery below. All of these patients had their screenings at one of our locations on the 16th or 17th.