The Canadian Cancer Society reports 4,700 fellow Canadians were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017, and 1,250 Canadians succumbed to this type of cancer. Oral cancers are deadlier than breast and prostate cancers; however, they have a high rate of being successfully treated when detected early.
Your trusted dental team at Dentistry on Parkdale is on the frontline of detecting and, moreover, protecting you and your loved ones from developing oral cancers. The oral cancer screening process in Hamilton, ON is straightforward, quick, and a “must” for the health of your teeth, gums, and body.
Recall appointments are generally scheduled at six-month intervals. If you have risk factors for conditions like gum disease and oral cancer, Dr. Karen Ho will recommend more frequent visits to our Parkdale Avenue office.
There are certain things you can expect from these routine visits. Our skilled hygienists remove what a regular toothbrush and floss can’t: stubborn tartar. Dr. Ho examine your teeth and gums, looking for and discussing signs of tooth decay and gum disease with you. They will also perform a screening to check for abnormalities that may be indicative of signs or symptoms of oral cancers.
Without an examination by your dentist, most of the early signs of oral cancer are tough to find. Routinely, oral cancers are discovered late. The Canadian Cancer Society reports the 5-year net survival rate for oral cancer is 63%; however, in its earliest or localized stages (stage No. 1 or No. 2), the 5-year survival rate jumps to 75%, 78%, and 93% for floor of mouth, tongue, and lip cancers respectively. For those cancers that have metastasized or spread (stage No. 4C), the 5-year survival plunges to 20%, 36%, and 52% for floor of mouth, tongue, and lip cancers respectively. Early detection with screening at your dental professional’s office saves lives and adds quality years.
If you’re concerned about any changes, contact Dentistry on Parkdale immediately; for instance, you may be worried about a lingering sore, lump, unusual pain or numbness, bleeding, swelling, or a sore throat. Some patients may have difficulty swallowing, chewing, or the feeling that something is “stuck” in their throat. Swelling may become so bad that the fit of dentures and other dental appliances is altered, or your ear may ache and your speech may be slurred. The Oral Cancer Foundation says that any sore, discolouration, hoarseness, irritation, or other tissue changes that doesn’t resolve within a two-week period should be considered suspicious and worthy of further examination.
During your screening, Dr. Ho will either visually look for trouble signs or feel for abnormalities by gently examining areas of the mouth, face, and head by touch. An examination may include:
At every appointment, we’ll ask questions about your health and update your medical history; for example, we may ask about any newly-prescribed medications. Many drugs cause dry mouth, which is associated with dental conditions like tooth decay.
You may be referred to a specialist, such as a head and neck surgeon. These specialists can order more tests to rule out oral cancers, or to quickly start effective treatment.
Dentistry on Parkdale is a big believer in open patient communication and education. Our team will discuss risk factors, and work with you to reduce those risks. Modifications may be necessary if you:
As with most conditions, there are some things – like gender and advancing age – that we can’t control. But there are many ways you can lower your risk of developing oral cancers, and that starts with keeping regular appointments at Dentistry on Parkdale. Call 905-547-4940 to make your appointment. We look forward to seeing you!
Dr. Karen Ho is a trusted dentist serving patients of all ages in Hamilton, Ontario. Having studied at prestigious institutes such as McMaster University and University of Toronto and trained at Hartford Hospital (General Practice Residency), she opened her private practice in 2003.
Dr. Ho is committed to lifelong learning as she believes that she can serve her community better by constantly updating herself. She is affiliated with many professional organisations like the Academy of General Dentistry, Institute for Clinical Practice of Pediatric Dentistry, The Dawson Academy Study Club, Niagara Peninsula Dental Diagnostic Study Club, Hamilton Chapter of the Seattle Study Club (Founding Member), and Boston and Tufts Universities.