Dear Eva Grayzel,
Carly went to see her dentist last September when she noticed a small lump on her tongue. Her dentist gave her an ointment and said ‘come back in 2 weeks.’ After two weeks it didn’t go away so the dentist said ‘try it for another week’. After the 3rd week…..it didn’t resolve so she was referred to a specialist in the private sector. The specialist knew what it was.
In October 2011, my life partner Carly, a receptionist, received the diagnosis of mouth cancer. She required a partial glossectomy and she can only hope her speech articulation will improve with therapy. I am sure seeing a motivator like you would greatly help us both.
I lived in Ontario Canada for 20 years during my 20’s and 30’s. I had 6 or 7 different dentists while there and most did check my mouth for lumps and other things. They checked my throat as well. I wondered why they did this, but I didn’t think about it much. I never heard of mouth cancer.
10 years ago I moved to Quebec, Canada. I have had 3 dentists since then. NONE of them checked my mouth and throat for lumps or something unusual. Knowing what I know now, I think Québec is behind on dental services. Is the dental education different in different provinces? I think Carly’s dentist was behind the ball in a big way.
Carly’s dentist followed the standard protocol. If a suspicious lesion doesn’t resolve in two weeks it should be biopsied. But, you make an excellent point about Quebec being ‘behind the ball’ on dental services. Carly’s dentist should have seen the early signs: Tissue changing in color and texture. Perhaps, with current education in detecting pre-cancer, this dentist could have prevented the extensive surgery Carly required, saving her ability to articulate and continue with her life in a normal way. Now, Carly will have to create a ‘new-normal’. I’m sorry, but know that you are not alone. This is a story I hear over and over. I’ll let you know if I come to speak in Montreal, and I’d be honored to meet you both in person.
Eva Grayzel, Founder of Six-Step Screening
PS If a dental professional from the Canadian provinces knows about dental education and how it differs between the provinces, please respond.