PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4)- Every hour of every day one American dies from oral cancer. Include throat cancer and the number triples. So to improve survival rates a Pembroke Pines dentist is using a unique device that can help detect oral cancer in the early stages.
Leslie Diamond, 67, was diagnosed with throat cancer.
“It was devastating,” Diamond said.
A lump on the side of his neck, one he ignored for months, turned out to be malignant.
“They wanted to remove my tongue and wanted to cut all this area out (the jaw),” he explained.
Diamond had radiation and chemotherapy and lost his ability to speak and eat for months.
Now he regularly gets checked for oral cancer by his dentist Mark Zahler. According to Dr. Zahler, oral cancer is actually one of the only cancers in this country that has been on the rise.
Dr. Zahler uses something called the Velscope to better detect cancer in the mouth and throat.
“It sends out a special type of wavelength on the light that makes it easier to detect dysplasia which is the cells that kind of go crazy when you have cancer cells.”
Dr. Zahler said the light is completely safe but he admitted it’s not 100% accurate.
It’s another tool for early detection and one Diamond said patients should request from their dentist so they can avoid what he’s been through.
“People don’t realize how it can ruin their life how it can change their whole life.”
There are typically no symptoms of oral cancer. Although a sore in the mouth that won’t go away or crusty lips can be an indication something is not right and you should get checked out.