VANCOUVER – For the first time, patients will be able to get screened for oral cancer at some Lower Mainland London Drugs locations.
If the pilot proves successful, the program, with endorsement from the BC Oral Cancer Prevention Program (BC OCPP) and program development with world renowned UBC oral medicine specialist, Dr. Samson Ng, London Drugs will expand the program.
“This is the first time we are working with colleagues outside the dental field to find ways to combat the minimally known but deadly, oral cancer,” said Ng, practicing oral medicine specialist, UBC faculty of dentistry, clinical assistant professor, in a release.
Approximately three people die of oral cancer every day in Canada and early detection is crucial to survival. It is also the sixth most common cancer in the world. The Canadian Cancer Society statistics indicate approximately 4,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and many more will be diagnosed with dysplasia (pre-cancer). Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.
“Our program’s primary objective is to prevent the development of oral cancer, or to detect it at the earliest possible stage or as a pre-cancer,” said the BC OCPP’s Dr. Denise Laronde.
“The program will bring much needed awareness and availability to individuals who might not regularly visit a dental professional and to those who are more at-risk – tobacco users and tobacco users who also drink alcohol.”
Smoking is a major cause of oral cancer, with the risk being about five to 10 times greater among smokers than non-smokers. Tobacco use increases the risk of oral cancer by exposing the mouth to carcinogenic chemicals, either during inhalation while smoking or through direct contact while chewing tobacco products.
“The more the public is aware of oral cancer and the more opportunities for early detection is a win for everyone – patients, dental professionals and the medical system as a whole,” said Ng. “Individuals taking preventative measures like the oral pre-cancer screening at London Drugs or your dental professional is the best way to monitor your oral health. The screening is simple, painless and only takes a few minutes.”
The test will use the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System handheld scope to help detect for oral tissue abnormalities. Patients who enroll in the oral health screening clinic will fill out an evaluation form that asks questions about tobacco use and other pertinent questions. Once the screening is completed, an evaluation summary will be provided to the patient and if required, the patient will be advised to see an oral or health professional for further assessment.
To book an appointment visit londondrugs.com/OralScreening or contact these stores in person or by phone for clinics listed below:
April 14 – London Drugs in Kerrisdale
2091 West 42nd Avenue
April 15 – London Drugs Broadway & Cambie
525 West Broadway
April 17 – London Drugs Granville & Georgia
710 Granville St.
Tuesday May 12 – London Drugs Langley
20202 — 66th Ave.
Wednesday May 13 – London Drugs Lougheed Town Centre
9855 Austin Avenue
Thursday May 14 – London Drugs Guildford Town Centre
10355 152 Street