Yes a trip to your hygienist can save YOUR life. If you currently are not getting a complete head, neck and oral cancer evaluation at your hygiene appointments ask for one. In Canada oral cancer is the 13th most common cancer and ranks 6th worldwide. The 5 year survival rates for oral cancer is 63%, this is largely because of late diagnosis, it is often not found until it has metastasized. Found early the 5 year survival rate is approximately 83%. Statistics for 2014 in Canada was estimated as being three times more fatal than cervical cancer. I have dedicated hours of my time this year dedicated to ensure that I am giving my clients the most thorough exam possible. Taking courses like "Oral Cancer Screening for Today's Population: The Urgent NEED for Change!, along with an Update on Oral Pathology. From these courses I have implemented many things into how I now practice dental hygiene. One, the importance of noting small changes on the oral tissues. To Help with this I have started wearing "Loupes" they magnify everything I see inside your mouth allowing me to see small changes easier. I also have incorporated Fluorescence Technology in the form of a Velscope. The Velscope is a hand held blue light that stimulates natural fluorescence in the soft tissues of your mouth. This allows me to see early changes in the cells not visible with the naked eye. Some early changes in cells are known to become cancerous lesions and are best removed by an Oral Surgeon in the precancerous stage. The second major take away was the importance to begin oral cancer screening early as the face of oral cancer has changed drastically over the past few years. The fastest growing type of oral cancer is caused by a virus. It has been estimated that 75% of people will have this virus at some point in their life. The Virus is the HPV virus but primarily HPV-16 and HPV-18. Generally the cancers caused by this virus are found toward the back of your mouth and pharynx so it is important your dental health care provider is able to see the back of your throat. On the positive side this type of cancer is very sensitive to radiation therapy and the 3 year survival rates are 82.4% compared to 57.1% of those with HPV negative tumours. The best part of this is the oral cancer screening exam is done at NO CHARGE! You are to important to me and I feel this exam is part of a normal Dental Hygiene Exam.