Most dentists perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists may use additional tests to aid in identifying areas of abnormal cells in your mouth. The goal with oral cancer screening is to identify cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.
Screening for oral cancer isn’t without controversy, though. No single oral exam or oral cancer screening test is proven to reduce the risk of dying of oral cancer. Still, you and your dentist may decide that an oral exam or a special test is right for you based on your risk factors.
Most dentists recommend an oral exam during your routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. During an oral exam, your dentist looks over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloved hands, your dentist also feels the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities.
Many people have abnormal sores in their mouths, with the great majority being noncancerous. An oral exam can’t determine which sores are cancerous and which are not. If your dentist finds an unusual sore, you may go through further testing to determine its cause. The only way to definitively determine whether you have oral cancer is to remove some abnormal cells and test them for cancer in a procedure called a biopsy.
Mouth Cancer kills one person every 3 hours in the UK because of late detection
The London Day Surgery Centre (LDSC) is the first clinic in the Capital to offer ViziLite oral lesion screening, a new pain free technique for oral cancer, one of the fastest growing cancers in the UK.
ViziLite Plus with TBlue is a painless, non-invasive examination. It helps detect abnormalities than can be early indicators of cancer. The oral lesion identification and marking system comprises of a chemiluminescent light source to identify any possible lesions and a blue dye to mark those lesions identified by the technology.
First the patient rinses with a solution for one minute, then the specialist activates the light wand and shines it into the patient’s mouth, while examining oral tissue for abnormalities, which will glow a blue/white colour. A blue dye is applied to any suspicious areas to visualize the precise extent of the lesion. If any lesions show cause for concern, the patient is referred to a specialist.
Malcolm Torz , Dental Specialist and Clinic Director at the London Day Surgery Centre comments:
“In its very early stages, mouth cancers can be invisible making it extremely hard to detect. Chances of survival improve dramatically if diagnosed and treated early – making testing advisable for anyone who is worried about oral cancer”