New tool to help detect oral cancer - Fox 2 News Headlines

New tool to help detect oral cancer

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(WJBK) - Dentists have a new high tech way to find oral cancer before it turns deadly.

Cliff Zapczynski smiles when he talks about his son Parker, who just turned one. Now Cliff wants to make sure he's around to celebrate many more birthdays, but he's got a bad habit.
"I've had a vice habit of smoking cigarettes for over 15 years," he says.

Tobacco, in any form, is a leading cause of oral cancer, and that concerns Zapczynski.

According to the American Cancer Society, every year 37,000 people will get oral cancer and about 25 percent will die from it.

The key is finding it early.

"Now, with newer technologies we're able to find these things possibly earlier, detect things early, and when you find an oral cancer earlier you have a very high success rate - up to 83 percent successful curable rate - when you find them early," says Dr. Jeff Haddad at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.

This new device is as small as a flashlight. It's called Oral ID and uses fluorescent light to examine all the nooks and cranny's inside the mouth.
"It does help decipher between a normal piece of tissue and something that is changing. It doesn't necessarily mean cancer, but something that may be suspicious," Haddad explains.

Zapczynski's exam goes well but he knows he's got something to work on.
"Definitely want to quit that habit and improve my  health for the well-being of my son. So, yes, anything to know that it's good right now is nice," says Zapczynski.

As far as how often you should get screened for oral cancer, the experts don't exactly agree.

The American Cancer Society recommends screening when you visit your dentist, but the problem is many abnormal bumps could be in your mouth that are not cancerous and can lead to unnecessary testing.

So, your risk factors should be considered when you think about screening.
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