Columns, Health & Fitness

Ask Dr. Canzoneri: A Dental Visit Can Save a Life

Early oral cancer detection can save a life before the disease becomes terminal. – Courtesy photo

Patient: I lost a sister to oral cancer. I am always scared that I will have a sore in my mouth and not realize it is cancer until it is too late. What can I do?! – Panicked

Dear Panicked: I see at least one patient per week that is worried about a sore in their mouth being cancer. I am very sympathetic about this subject. A couple of years ago I had a very painful canker sore in the area near the back of my tongue and after a few days I began to worry and I even knew it was a canker sore! Oral Cancer is often described as the “forgotten disease,” because each year over 30,000 Americans contract oral cancer, and it receives little publicity in return. Oral cancer if found in late stages has a five year survival rate of around 30%. The good news is if it is found early, the survival rate jumps to 80% to 90%. Therefore the key is early detection.

In our office either the Hygienist or myself does a thorough visual cancer exam and also an advanced VELscope Cancer Exam. The VELscope is an exciting, advanced early cancer detection device. It utilizes the technology of Fluorescence Visualization. Basically a hand held VELScope handpiece shines a safe blue light into the mouth to expose changes and lesions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. The complete cancer exam just takes a few minutes and is typically done at one of the dental cleaning visits.

Don’t let any reason for not going to the dentist keep you from having this life saving exam.

More information can be found at

– Kenneth Canzoneri DDS.


September 14, 2017

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