Back in 2010, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs endorsed routine visual and tactile examinations in all patients during dental appointments (JADA, May 2010, Vol. 141:5, pp. 509-520).
On the ADA website it states in the dental check-up guidelines that an oral cancer screening should be performed. So, why is oral cancer continually being diagnosed late?Last week, Ann died, less than one year after complaining about the ulcer on her tongue that didn’t heal. She was a lobbyist on capitol hill for PhARMA, a mother who left behind 3 young children. Who is responsible? Is it the dentist who didn’t think the ulcer was anything to worry about? Is it the oral surgeon who didn’t take enough of the cancerous tissue? Is it the other dentist who treated her pain with TMJ treatments? Was it the ENT who didn’t show concern? Is it the pathologist who should have requested to see more tissue? Or, is it the ADA who does not impart to dentists the importance of their responsibility to patients in performing a thorough oral cancer screening and keeping up-to-date on the early signs.
How many individuals have to be disfigured for life, unable to smile, speak, drool, kiss, lick, chew, swallow, taste, feel attractive…OR DIE until something changes?
Ann, rest in peace and know that Six-Step Screening will continue to work hard in your memory so the same doesn’t happen to others.