Oral Cancer Screening in North Vancouver, BC

Oral cancer is a disease resulting from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. In 2003, an estimated 3,100 new cases of oral cancers were identified in Canada, and about 1,090 deaths occurred as a result of the disease.


Your dental professional may screen you for oral cancer even if you do not have symptoms. Screening test are useful as they can help detect oral cancers early, decreasing the chance of fatality due to these cancers. For most types of cancer, odds of survival are greatly increased if diagnosed at an early stage.
In our North Vancouver office, we will exam you for lesions in the mouth, lips, hard palate, gums, tongue and mucous membranes. In our office, besides the regular visual and palpatory screening, we also offer the Early Cancer Detection technology VELscope . If lesions are detected, a variety of screening methods may be used to further investigate such as:

  • Biopsy- a small excision of the suspicious tissue is made and sent for microscopic examination.
  • Exfoliative cytology- cells are obtained by means of scraping or smearing and examined.
  • Imaging tests such as X-rays, ultra sounds, or MRIs X-rays, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are other, and possibly less invasive, methods of detecting oral cancer that involve using radio wave energy to view possible subsurface masses and lesions.
  • Toluidine blue (vital staining) – This procedure involves wiping the suspicious mucosal area and applying Toluidine blue solution, which is a type of stain that colors abnormal cellular surfaces.

It is important to keep in mind that if your dentist has sent you to get further oral cancer screening it is usually a precautionary measure and does not mean that you have cancer.


If you need more information about oral cancer, please contact us.