Oral Cancer Screening

What is Oral Cancer?


It is estimated in 2015, about 4,100 Canadians will be diagnosed with oral cancer. That is a little over 10 new cases EACH day in Canada. And the rate continues to increase. Other names for oral cancer include mouth cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, and tonsil cancer.

There are two known pathways leading to oral cancer. This first is tobacco and alcohol use. The other is through exposure to HPV (human papilomma virus – HPV16). When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates are good (80-90%). Unfortunately, most oral cancers are not detected until late stage, which is why the death rate from oral cancer is high (45% five years after diagnosis). Therefore, our dentists perform oral cancer screening for each new patient, and a routine exam is done at each of your recall cleaning appointment. If you have a lump, bump, ulcer or other areas of concern in your mouth, please consult us, and we will examine the area and perform necessary measures. 

Who is at risk for oral cancer?

In the past, oral cancer was believed to be associated mostly with tobacco use. This is no longer the case. In fact, in people younger than 50 years old, HPV is now belived to be the main causitive agent. Because the risk factors now include tobacco, alcohol, and/or exposure to HPV-16, nearly every adult in Canada is at risk for developing oral cancer. For this reason, Just Smiles Dental recommends oral cancer screenings twice per year. Like any cancer, it is only through early detection that your chances for survival improve.