Oral Cavity Biopsies: 3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts

My first biopsy was misread as hyperkeratosis when in fact it was moderate dysplasia. I should have been flagged two years before I was diagnosed with Stage IV Squamous Cell Carcinoma on the lateral border of my tongue. Here is what I learned about biopsies: They are not 100% definitive. Why? Imprecise tissue sampling; Improper tissue handling; inaccurate interpretation. I …

Oral Cancer Screenings: New Technology

No screening device can replace a visual and tactile oral cancer screening. However, when a practice has a screening device, they must use it regularly to be proficient. If a fee is charged, and it’s sprung on the patient while they are sitting in the chair, it becomes uncomfortable, especially if the patient has a tight budget. If a dental …

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Sticking Out Tongue Straight: An Impossible Feat

I have adopted a sister, a survivor sister Dale Noelle. Tongue cancer became the topic of conversation between my friend Erin’s mother and Dale’s mother over a card game. They agreed Dale and I should meet. For months, our busy schedules didn’t allow us to plan a meeting. But, when I got the message she could attend a lecture I …

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PAIN: The Most Common Symptom of Oral Cancer

If anyone can give lessons on coping with life challenges it’s Neil Arnold. What is it like to be Neil, a retired OBGYN and 24-year late stage oropharyngeal survivor? Neil no longer speaks. He is a laryngectomee and due to recurrences, he can no longer articulate words. He lives in silence. What impressed me was his staunch independence. When the …

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Newly-Trained Dental Professionals Lack Attention to Oral Cancer: What Should I Say?

Dear Eva, I just got home from the dentist and am distressed about the lack of attention my dentist and his staff pay to oral cancer screenings. Is there is a way for you to help? I like my dentist and his hygienist does a great job, but it all stops there. It is noted in my chart that I want an oral cancer screening. …