Chilliwack dentists offer free oral cancer checks this week

Willow Dental Care and 123Dentist.com are holding free oral cancer checks Wednesday and Thursday in Chilliwack.

Dr. Pierre Vigneault of Willow Dental Care and 123Dentist.com performs an oral cancer screening with VELscope

Three dental clinics in Chilliwack are holding free oral cancer screenings this week.

On April 16 and 17, Willow Dental Care and 123Dentist.com in Chilliwack will be waiving the standard $34 fee for oral cancer screenings in an effort to get more people thinking about cancers of the mouth.

Oral cancer is one of the deadliest cancers without early detection.

Survival rate is 63 per cent, lower than cervical, skin, and prostate cancers. Four in 10 patients diagnosed die within five years. And those who do survive, face devastating disfigurements with the loss of their jaw, roof of their mouth, or part of their cheek.

Early detection increases survival to more than 80 per cent.

“Oral cancer is one of the least talked about cancers, yet it’s quite deadly,” said Dr. Pierre Vigneault, dentist with Willow Dental Care and 123Dentist.com.

In his more than 30 years as a dentist, Vigneault has diagnosed three oral cancer cases – all of which ended in death.

According to the BC Cancer Agency, approximately 500 new cases are diagnosed in B.C. every year. And it’s not just smokers or alcohol consumers at risk anymore. There are growing incidences of oral cancers linked to people carrying the human papillomavirus (HPV) – meaning younger, sexually active people are also at risk.

“The demographic of the disease is changing; a different population is now at risk,” said Vigneault.

“Oral screenings can save lives. Dentists are the people who can actually diagnose or find oral cancers – dentists are the doctors of the mouth.”

In the early stages of oral cancer, there is often no visible signs or discomfort. As a result, many oral cancers are discovered when they’re already advanced and less responsive to treatment.

But with the state-of-the-art early screening device – the Visually Enhanced Lesion Scope (VELscope) – those cancers can be detected much earlier.

VELscope is a handheld instrument that uses fluorescence to highlight deep-rooted abnormalities in the soft tissues of the mouth.

“It’s kind of like when you wear a white shirt under a black light and the shirt glows,” said Vigneault. “When you use this frequency of light on an abnormal tissue, the tissue reflects light differently, it appears darker than it normally would, and that leads to suspicion and investigation.”

The screening is pain-free and takes less than five minutes to perform.

In Chilliwack, there is a Willow Dental Care clinic in Garrison Crossing and in Salish Plaza on Yale Road. There is also a 123Dentist.com in Eagle Landing.

The clinics are accepting donations for oral cancer research.

All donations will be matched by the clinics and donated to the BC Cancer Agency.

For more information or to book a screening go to the website www.willowdentalcare.com or 123dentist.com.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

Chilliwack to survey child-care needs of families and caregivers

With provincial funding help, an inventory of child care spaces will soon be underway in Chilliwack

Discover what they unearthed downtown at Heritage Chilliwack event

The Algra Brothers’ art director will be guest speaker at September 5 event in Chilliwack

Hope’s only public wheelchair-accessible vehicle stolen

More than 300 clients left in lurch after volunteer group discovers van stolen

Gathering on the Fraser to foster mutual respect for fisheries

Frustrations of the fishing season well known to user groups on the Lower Fraser River this summer

Sardis neighbourhood planning process set to begin in Chilliwack

Residents will have several ways to get involved in the the City of Chilliwack planning process

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Mouse infestation hit Langley hospital’s kitchens

Droppings and urine were found by Fraser Health inspectors in the spring

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of Lower Mainland robberies stretched from Surrey to Mission

‘Person of interest’ identified after suspicious meat left in North Delta park

Piles of meat have been dumped near the 63rd Avenue trail entrance four times in the last 30 days

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

B.C. mom mourns 14-year-old son whose fatal overdose was posted online

Chantell Griffiths misses the son she hadn’t seen much in recent years

Most Read