Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Consumer Reports Comes Out in Opposition to Routine Oral Cancer Screenings

Sometimes you just have to wonder...

I find this subject especially poignant since Roger Ebert just passed away and he had battled oral cancer for quite some time.

The good folks over at Dr Bicsupid.com published an article recently regarding the fact that Consumer Reports magazine has come out opposing routine head and neck cancer screening.

Now normally I'm a fan of the magazine and I think they serve a very valuable purpose.  However, this time they are just flat out wrong.

\Let me state for the record that oral cancer screenings are done visually, that means they are done by using the practitioner's eyes.  They are non-invasive meaning that no tissues are violated or disturbed.  They use no radiation and no drugs.  In the most basic sense, the doctor has the patient open their mouth and then the doctor "takes a look around" to see if anything looks suspicious.  That is the extent of it.

In order to do the best job possible, I advocate using some type of device that produces a special color of light that helps the doctor identify areas that might need more closer inspection or follow-up.  However, that light causes no problems and has no risk of injury or damage to the patient.

Oral cancer kills one person every hour of every day.  Most oral cancers are discovered in late stages meaning that even if it is caught and the patient beats the disease, it is a hard road to recovery.

Anything we can do to help catch this disease at its earliest stages should be done.

I respect Consumer Reports, but as a doctor whose job it is to protect the health of my patients to the best of my ability, this time they are wrong.  I sincerely hope they retract this article.

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