Community Papers

Dental clinics offer free oral cancer screenings April 16-17

Several Burnaby and New Westminster dental clinics are among those that will offer free oral cancer screenings to the public on Wednesday and Thursday, April 16 and 17.

The usual $34 fee for the service will be waived. Instead, patients are encouraged to make a donation, which will be matched, to the BC Cancer Foundation and the BC Cancer Agency's oral cancer prevention program.

Each year, about 500 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed and 170 people die from the disease, according to the BC Cancer Agency. It's considered one of the deadliest cancers due to low rates of early detection. Treatments at the advanced stages of the disease are often disfiguring.

But advances in technology in Canada now mean dentists can detect an estimated  84 per cent of oral cancers.

All Willow Dental Care and clinics use a state-of-the-art device called a Visually Enhanced Lesion Scope, a handheld instrument that allows  dentists to see changes in the mouth not visible to the naked eye. The screening exams are pain-free and take less than five minutes to perform.

Call ahead for an appointment. For locations of participating Burnaby and New Westminster clinics, visit

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