In Calgary, most of the dentists would do head and neck examinations on all their patients during the routine visits. We are trained to look for any abnormal appearance inside the mouth and any lump or swelling around the head and neck region to rule out any possibility of oral cancer.
”Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, and throat cancer. Approximately 36,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2010. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. This is the fourth year in a row in which there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers, in 2007 there was a major jump of over 11% in that single year. There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 5 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.”
Please refer to www.oralcancerfoundation.org for more and updated information regarding this.
Because of the significant increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancer, we have purchased a special light that can help us to screen oral cancer on top of the routine exams. We offer this service to every patient 16 years and older at yearly basis. Please ask us for more information when you come in for your next visit with us.