“If this Blog Post Helps at Least One Person Quit Smoking, I’ve Done my Job… Preventing Oral Cancer.”
By Dr. Max Zaslavsky
When I first bought my office here in Ft. Lauderdale, I thought I would be doing a lot of veneers, cosmetics, botox, etc. As the office has evolved, and how I am on staff with Imperial Point Medical Center here in Broward County, I have been doing a lot more medical based dentistry in addition to the fun cosmetic work that I am more accustomed to. This is in no way to say I am disappointed in this evolution. I am a healthcare professional, and my role as a dentist is to educate on aid in prevention in various facets.
To transition, the picture you see is not something I got off the internet. This is an actual patient who came into my office for something COMPLETELY different than what this photo entails. He had actually come in for a toothache, and to discuss the possibility of dentures or implants. Seeing this upon our comprehensive examination was unavoidable. In my mind I was thinking for the best. “Well maybe if we take out some of the infected teeth, this swelling area will go down.” But it didn’t and I sent him immediately for a referral.
This white blip in the photo is cancer. To be specific, it is squamous cell carcinoma. The extent of which is to be determined. However he will lose a sizeable portion of his palate along with a possible loss of vision if the cancer has gone too far to his eye. If the cancer is more extensive, he can lose his life. So things just got very real for a good person who smoked too much for too long.
Now you’re wondering maybe, “how did it get so bad….. Or maybe, why did this person wait so long? Those answers I can’t give you. Or at least in this article, there’s no need to. When a patient walks into our office at that given moment, I can only treat what is present. Sure I wish I had seen him a year before. I know I could have prevented what would now be coming. Did you know that 90% of cancers can be prevented at stage 1?
I hope between what you are reading and the prognosis of this person, it will make you think twice the next time you light up a cigarette. Smoking causes cancer. If you think it doesn’t, well, you’re a fool. The facts are there and we as healthcare professionals can help you. Chantix and Welbutrin are viable options, and you should ask your healthcare provider on what would work best for you. We can help you quit. We can help you have a better life.