Tongue cancer can be fatal if not caught in time.
Dentists often notice the tumor when it’s in an early stage – when the prognosis is at its best.
I had been a dentist for over two decades. Consequently, I had seen many different oral health issues in my patients.
But one day, I noticed something unusual while performing a routine exam.
As I looked at the patient’s tongue, I saw a small white spot that caught my attention.
At first, I didn’t think much of it. Spots such as these could be minor issues that are easily treated.
However, something inside me urged me to prompt the patient to get this particular spot examined.
The patient heeded my advice and had the spot biopsied. The results showed that it was indeed cancerous.
Thankfully, however, the cancer was in the early stages, so the patient still had many treatment options available.
After the patient had undergone treatment, they came back to my office for a routine checkup.
They thanked me for discovering the cancer, and I could see the gratitude in their eyes.
It was then that I realized being a dentist is not just about taking care of teeth; it is also about taking care of people’s overall health.
Since that day, I have made it a priority to thoroughly examine every patient’s mouth during their routine checkups, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
I believe that as healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to use our knowledge and expertise to detect and prevent diseases early on.
In the end, the patient’s cancer was successfully treated, and they went on to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
As for me, the experience reminded me of the importance of paying attention to every detail during exams, as it could make all the difference in a patient’s life.
Dr. James Anderson is a practicing dentist at Lakeview Dental as well as CEO and co-founder of eAssist Dental Solutions. eAssist is a dental billing outsourcing platform that delivers peace of mind to dentists throughout the nation by connecting them to dental billing specialists.