Using Technology to Detect Oral Cancer
Anyone in tune with medical trends will agree that regular oral cancer screenings are an absolute must. Oral cancer, though rare, is an aggressive disease that can prove fatal if not caught and treated early. Since the symptoms of oral cancer are not easily distinguishable to the naked eye, it is imperative that the dental community make a point of spreading awareness about this disease while implementing screening methods that will work to improve patient survival rates.
Fortunately, one dentist is doing his part to keep his patients safe from the dangers of oral cancer. Dr. Joseph Pizzarello of Pizzarello and Silvestro Family Dentistry is a Stoneham, Massachusetts dentist who believes that it is his duty to perform oral cancer screenings in conjunction with general cleanings. In fact, Dr. Pizzarello currently offers these services at no charge to his patients, as he feels that finances should not have to be a factor when it comes to potentially saving a patient’s life.
While oral cancer detection methods can vary depending on the dental practice at hand, in Dr. Pizzarello’s office, a screening usually involves having a dentist or hygienist check a patient’s mouth, neck, cheeks, and tongue for any unusual lumps, bumps, sores, or discolored patches. However, in the grand scheme of successfully identifying oral cancer, this is only a start. Any patient displaying a potential symptom of oral cancer will then be evaluated further using some of the latest and greatest technology on the market.
These days, Dr. Pizzarello’s tool of choice is the Identafi 3000, a handheld device that uses three different wavelengths of light to detect oral cancer. Since the Identafi 3000 is able to interpret metabolic and physiologic differences in the mouth, it makes the act of identifying cancerous oral tissue a whole lot easier on dental professionals. The screening test is painless and quick, thereby minimizing patient trauma despite the obviously nerve-wracking nature of any given scenario involving the suspicion of oral cancer.
According to Dr. Pizzarello, the use of the Identafi 3000 and other such diagnostic tools has been instrumental in improving patient prognoses and saving people’s lives. And although such equipment is far from cheap, he is happy to make the investment if it means preserving his patients’ good health for the long run.
There’s no question that oral cancer can be an extremely frightening disease, so those looking to protect themselves from it should make a point of seeing their dentists twice a year for screenings. Although some dentists do not offer oral cancer screenings as part of their standard services, Dr. Pizzarello insists that an oral cancer screening is something that every dental patient ought to request or even demand. Furthermore, if a patient is told by his dentist that an oral cancer screening is unnecessary, then he should consider taking his business elsewhere and putting his health into perhaps more capable hands.
While oral cancer screenings are unquestionably vital, patients can also do their part to help themselves outside the dental office. Those who choose to engage in habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chewing tobacco use are essentially putting themselves at greater risk for developing the disease; so the sooner one stops such behavior, the better his chances of staying healthy will be. When it comes to oral cancer, the important thing for patients to remember is that early detection is the key to a favorable prognosis; but the best way to protect oneself from the dangers of oral cancer is, clearly, to take steps to avoid getting it in the first place.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.