Oral cancer prevention

“All the advantages obtained from early detection of oral cancer by discovering lesions that cannot be seen at first sight.”

Oral cancer affects more frequently the tongue and the lips, but it can affect any part of the mouth, such as the mucosa of the cheeks, the floor of the mouth, the gums and the palate.

The majority of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which are very aggressive and tend to spread rapidly. The mortality with oral cancer is very high, partly because it is diagnosed too late. When oral cancer is in an advanced phase, the treatment is complicated and mutilating. But, if it is diagnosed in early stages, the proportion of patients that survive is very high.

Periodic revisions enable an early diagnosis. At the Wallner Dental Office, apart from a rigorous exam of the mouth and neck palpation for the detection of suspicious lumps, we also use the autoflourescence register of the human tissues. Premalignant and malignant modifications start under the surface of the skin and of the mucosa, at the basal layer. At this initial stage, the human eye is incapable of detecting any anomaly. The technique of using autofluorescence of the human tissues was developed by the British Columbia Cancer Agency, in collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and it is based on the direct visualization of the fluorescence of the tissue and of the modifications that appear in the presence of abnormalities. That is, it reveals lesions in their very early stages, which cannot be detected by the human eye.

In accordance with the British Columbia Cancer Agency, we recommend this revision should be done once a year as from age 18. However, if the patient has a risk factor, such as being a smoker, a revision every 6 months is recommended.