More Smiles Dental Spa Dentistry Blog | James A. Moreau, Jr., D.D.S.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Oral Cancer Screenings Should Be Routine

With actor Michael Douglas's announcement this past week that he has stage 4 throat cancer, there's been a number of news reports about screening and prevention of mouth and oral cancers. One reporter noted that Douglas's wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, was "furious" because he had been to several physicians complaining of a sore throat and no one had been able to get to the correct diagnosis.

I couldn't help but wonder from this comment if Mr. Douglas had not been seeing a dentist regularly. Often times, the dental office is the first to detect signs of medical problems because generally speaking, people see their dentist on a more regular basis (twice a year) than a physician.

In fact, specifically regarding oral cancers, in our office we always do an oral cancer screening which includes a thorough visual screening for early changes in the soft tissues of the mouth, and the doctor palpates both inside and outside of the floor of the mouth and around the neck and jaw area. The medical reporter noted that if some of the physicians who'd seen Mr. Douglas had done a similar type of exam, his diagnosis might have come much earlier.

So, next time you think about skipping a "routine" dental appointment, remember that this visit could be an important step in arresting a serious dental or medical problem before it advances.

posted by MoreSmiles at 10:25 AM

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