Oral Cancer Diagnostic Technology in Dental Offices
Last Monday, a friend’s coworker came to my office asking me for a cancer screening, because he felt a tumor on his gingiva that wasn’t there a few months ago. After screening, I told him that I have to obtain a tissue sample by biopsy, but I was sure that it was a benign tumor. He started to arguing that how could it be if his last dentist performed a screening using a special light for cancer detection 4 month ago and results were negative.
Interested in what he was telling me, I asked him about that “special” oral cancer screening. He said that he just quit smoking one year ago and oral cancer concerns him, because another smoker friend was diagnosed with oral cancer. He found on internet a dentist which said that he has a newly “special quick oral cancer screening” and with this device he could check easily oral cancer in minutes while sitting on the chair.
Between dental science and dental marketing
In modern dental practice, it seems that there is a thin line between dental science based practice and dental marketing based practice. I know that modern dentistry’s market is competitive and the pressure to increase incomes is high, but it is not an excuse to lie or misinform patients.
Like I mentioned in a past post, one thing is that technology can improve our practice and another that technology by itself, magically, transform our deficiency into strength. Oral cancer screening is a clinical exam performed by a well trained professional, with great knowledge on oral medicine and diagnostic experience.
Moreover, the only one exam that has the last word in oral cancer detection is histopathological tissue study, moreover, schedule the patient for continual oral assessment when needed is a good idea. Let’s also remember, a smoking-induced oral cancer patient, should also have CT of the chest to look for lung cancer. In older patients who smoked for years, it’s common to find more than one cancer.
Those gadgets, that claim oral cancer detection capabilities, are diagnostics aids and their results have to be compared with clinical findings. A good oral cancer exam is visual and tactile. About this you can consult la pagina de la fundación de cáncer oral for more information.
The History repeating itself
This reminds me when diagnodent claimed that it has the best accuracy and repeatability in caries diagnostic, compared with x ray and visual examination. After some studies, were found that diagnodent was more sensitive but could show false readings and a good trained professional has the same diagnostic capability.
As always, the human skills are not replaceable. Training and knowledge are the best tools that a good professional has in his practice. Some dentist claim that their practices are better because they can afford technology, but the truth is that technology can’t make up their lack of ability and years of clinical training.
Unfortunately, dental marketing based practices are so profitable and attractive to new young professionals, and ethics doesn’t count as an asset for bank credit. But that is no reason to fool ourselves and our patients.