"I discovered the cancer at the dentist's chair"
When you go to the dentist normally expected as diagnosis a cavity, root canal, tartar. But with Faize Arap, 80, the query had a different outcome. It all started when the lady felt something strange in the mouth, passing the tongue on the upper lip and there were balls that, from time to time, were large, then small, and moved.
"I talked to my niece who is a dentist and she said it was probably a salivary gland clogged, but it was bothering her and was better to take it off," she says. That's when the dentist, Luis Marcelo Sêneda, from SM Oral Clinical Care, made the balls withdrawal and preferred to make an analysis. "And to the astonishment of all, it was a salivary gland cancer, adenocarcinoma, as explained to me," says Ms. Faize.
She was referred to a head and neck doctor who asked all examinations, and scored surgery to remove a larger piece of the region and see if there were more malignant cells. Today, she makes up with the head and neck surgeon and the dentist. "The fact that he had the cancer diagnosis early, helped me a lot to not have to go through chemo or radiation. The dentist helped me a lot because if he had not taken the marbles, would not have discovered on time to have a tranquil cancer treatment," she says.
Luis Marcelo Sêneda, professional who accompanied Ms. Fazie, explains that when it comes to prevention and early diagnosis, the dentist has a fundamental role, since the patient will most often to a dental appointment than a doctor's appointment. "As prevention is important, regular visits to the dentist can have a fundamental importance, because early diagnosis can mean higher cure rate." According to the dentist Fábio de Abreu Alves, Stomatology director from the AC Camargo Cancer Center, at the initial stage, the cure chance is above 80%, already at an advanced stage drops to 40-50 %.
Not only oral cancer can be identified at the dentist's chair. There are some cancers that, at an advanced stage, metastasis, begin to manifest also in the mouth, such as breast cancer. In such cases it can identify nodules, sores and bone lesions in the mouth (mandible and maxilla). "But I would not say that this cancer was discovered in a dentist's chair, because, as I said, the signs of breast cancer only reach the mouth when the disease is already extremely advanced, that is, certainly at that level , the person you know who has cancer," he says.
Pay attention at the wounds that appear more than 15 days ago
Generally, the symptoms reported by people who have oral cancer often are: burning, numbness and oral discomfort. In very advanced cases, a sharp pain throughout the mouth. Since the signals detected by the dentist are whitish plaques, reddish areas, wounds and ulcers that do not heal for more than 15 days.
"But it is important to emphasize the importance of maintaining a self-analysis and periodic visits to the dentist , which must be done every six months , because often oral cancer presents no symptoms until the patient realize that something is wrong , it may take too much time and compromise the disease´s healing, "says Fabio.
For the oncologist Ricardo Caponero, from CLINONCO, the ideal is to make this self-examination monthly, and prevent disease with changing habits. "The best way to prevent oral cancer is maintaining good oral health and preventing alcohol, tobacco and contamination by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)", he says.
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