Oral Cancer Screening

In Canada, over 3,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year and. Fortunately, oral cancer can be screened with a Velscope examination provided by Dr. Yamaoka.

Oral cancer is a pathologic process that does not produce symptoms and makes it difficult to recognize without an examination. There are many types of oral cancer. The most common form is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates in the lip and gum tissue. There are other places in which oral cancers occur such as the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums and face.

What to Expect

The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Dr. Yamaoka will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps. A Velscope is a hand-held device developed by the BC Cancer Agency to highlight pathologic changes, and can “look” below the surface of the skin to see cell changes invisible to the naked eye. This examination using Velscope technology is completed at every maintenance appointment in our office free of charge.

Some of the signs that would be investigated are red patches and sores. Red patches on the floor of the mouth or the front of the tongue and bleeding sores which fail to heal easily, can be an indicator of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth and may be cancerous. Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathologic signs and will be examined. If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Dr. Yamaoka will implement a treatment plan that is right for you.

It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.