Vancouver Dentists to Offer Free Oral Cancer Screening Today

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A number of dentists in Vancouver will waive the fee for oral screening tests today. Around 80 dentists in Lower Mainland will offer free screening using a new device, which is designed to detect cancer and abnormalities in the mouth.

Usually the screening tests cost $33 but they will be available for free for one day only. Dentists from Willow Dental Care clinic in Vancouver and several 123 Dentist clinics in the area will be offering tests using the VELscope, a device which is able to detect the very early signs of oral cancer that are invisible to the naked eye.

Dentists will examine the mouth using the VELscope in addition to feeling the throat and neck to check for abnormal lumps and swellings. A thorough examination takes only a few minutes and there is no pain involved.

Around 500 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in British Columbia every year and 170 die from the disease. Major risk factors for oral cancer include drinking and smoking but experts have also become increasingly concerned by the role of the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted infection, which is most commonly spread through oral sex. The HPV is also linked to cervical cancer.

British Columbia dentists have been encouraged to do more to raise awareness of oral cancer, as the disease is becoming more common, yet many people are still unaware of the causes and symptoms. A growing number of dentists are using the VELscope, which was designed based on technology developed in British Columbia. The device, which identifies symptoms that cannot be seen by the naked eye, is now used in 25 countries.


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