The significance of early detection: An oral cancer exam at our office in London, ON, could save your life

According to the most current statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society, around 5,400 of our fellow Canadians are diagnosed with oral cavity cancer each year. And approximately 1,500 Canadians succumb to these cancers of the mouth area. Fortunately, this kind of cancer has a high “cure” rate when diagnosed following an exam and when treated early.

The role that your dentist plays

In London, ON, dentists like Drs Ashish Papneja and Marjan Moaveni of Hyde Park Dentistry play a critical role in detecting pre-cancers and localized cancers or those tumours that have not spread to different parts of the face or body. During recall visits, they apply their skill and knowledge to check for abnormalities that warrant further investigation and intervention. Likewise, they have invested in sophisticated diagnostics such as panoramic x-rays that render clear images of potential oral problems that cannot be detected with the human eye.

We encourage you to get in a healthy habit of visiting us for these recall appointments. If you are at increased risk of developing oral cancers, we will likely recommend more frequent visits than the “standard” 6-month “checkup.” We will also work with you to proactively address risk factors, which include:

  • Use of cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and other tobacco products
  • Alcohol consumption: the more you drink, the greater the risk
  • Previous oral cancers or esophageal, pharyngeal, cervical, or lung cancers
  • Having a parent, sibling, or child who has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head or neck
  • Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays (usually presents as lower lip cancer)
  • A lack of carotenoid-containing foods in the diet; common sources are vegetables and fruit
  • Immune system disorders
  • Use of medicines that weaken the immune system
  • Chronic lichen planus rashes and sores
  • Chronic oral infections

Additionally, pre-existing oral and immune conditions can put you at increased risk of an HPV (Human Papillomavirus) infection. HPV infection is considered the likely cause of oral cancers among those patients who do not use tobacco products, or who drink alcohol regularly and excessively.

What to look for

In addition to modifying those habits that put you at increased risk of developing these cancers, we urge you to be aware of the trouble signs. For instance, contact us right away if you suddenly begin to experience numbness, hoarseness, or what feels like something stuck in your throat. Do not delay scheduling an appointment with Drs Ashish Papneja or Marjan Moaveni if you have any sores that don’t seem to heal or notice facial drooping, lumps, bleeding, or swelling. It is not an overstatement to say that oral cancer screenings save lives. Ideally, we will detect problems during your routine visits before you notice any concerning symptoms. Call us at 226-271-2522 to schedule your appointment.