The dentist could be a lifesaver when it comes to cancer, expert weighs in

Lynne Adkins
April 07, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- It's Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week, and local expert says that twice a year trip to the dentist could save your life.

 Dr. Helen Yoo Bowne, a head and neck surgeon at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, says the most common of these cancers are in the mouth, on the tongue and lip.

"The lesions in the oral cavity can be inspected visually, because it's right in the mouth, there are various ways that these lesions can present as a white lesion or a red lesion or a painful ulcer that doesn't go away for three weeks, sometimes it can be a lump or a bump," she said.

The leading causes of these cancers are tobacco, alcohol and the human papilloma virus.

She says the use of tobacco has declined in recent years, so that's a good thing, but the number of HPV related oral cancers has increased dramatically with most of the patients between 50 and 60-years of age.