Oral Cancer Screening

Early Detection Saves Lives

According to Australian Dental Association, at least three Australians are being diagnosed with oral cancer daily. Survival rates for oral cancer remain low despite advances in treatment and this can be attributed to late detection. Recognising the risk factors and signs of oral cancer is vital to better prognosis and outcomes.

Early detection of oral cancer can save lives, ulcers or lumps in the mouth which do not heal within two weeks should be treated with suspicion. Smoking, alcohol, poor diet, sun exposure and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can all contribute to a person’s risk of presenting with oral cancer.

Checking for signs of oral cancer is a part of our regular check-up procedure carried out by dentists at your every dental examination and hygiene appointments.

Oral Cancer is a delicate and extremely important issue around the world, especially at Hartwell Dentistry. .

In 2005, my father attended his 6 monthly oral hygiene and examination appointment.

During this exam I noted a very small lesion on his soft palate, it was no bigger than half a match stick head. He had no symptoms from this lesion and was not aware of it at all but a referral was made and he visited a specialist for assessment.

Unfortunately, squamous cell carcinoma was diagnosed; he was not a smoker nor a drinker. This lead to intensive radiotherapy which caused many side effects. He was unable to chew or swallow for several months after and during the treatment. For the first few months he also relied on a stomach tube to receive nutrition, and once he was able to eat, the complication of the reduced saliva made it very difficult and uncomfortable.

My father passed away in July 2008 from complications due to the cancer and treatment.

Dentist, Hartwell Dentistry

Facts on Oral Cancers

  1. Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer worldwide, with around 75% of these cases occurring in developing countries.
  2. Oral cancer is 3 times more common than cervical cancer.
  3. Overall survival rates are very poor at 50% or less
  4. 90% of all oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas
  5. 60% of oral cancers occur on the tongue and floor of the mouth
  6. In Australia, five year survival rates are around 35%
  7. Treatment is usually deformative and associated with aesthetic, functional or psychological problems.
  8. In Australia, 5 people are diagnosed with oral cancer and 1 person dies from oral cancer daily
  9.  Oral cancer risk factors:
    • Smoking tobacco
    • Regular consumption of alcohol

Early detection has been shown to increase survival rates. That is why at Hartwell Dentistry, every time we see you for an examination we do a visual oral cancer screening.

As well as a normal visual examination, we also use the multi-spectral instrument called the “Identifi” which uses white, violet and green-amber wavelengths of light to improve the detection of suspicious lesions that may lead to cancer.

dentist camberwell identifi



This has been developed over many years and is recognised as the gold standard in visual detection of oral lesions and cancers.

When we see something that isn’t quite right, we use the Identifi to aid early detection. If there is non healing lesions or the lesions look suspicious, we refer for biopsy and further testing.

So be assured, at Hartwell Dentistry we are committed to your overall health and implement the latest techniques and equipment to ensure your wellbeing.

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