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While most people know that making regular trips to the dentist can help improve their oral health, they may not know that it could also save their lives. Recently, Hearald.ie reported on the story of one Irish man who went in for a routine cleaning, and learned that he had oral cancer.
David McNamara, the patient in question, told the news source that he didn't have any symptoms of the disease and was completely surprised by the diagnosis. If he hadn't gone to the the dentist, then he may not have been diagnosed until the condition was already advanced.
"Early detection is the key. It is very treatable, if it is caught early," said the dentist who treated McNamara, Sarah McMorrow, quoted by the news source. "It's something all dentists are trained to do, but I would recommend patients to ask their dentist to screen them."
McNamara added that his dentist was a large part of his recovery process after oral surgery, and he has credited her with saving his life.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the largest risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption and poor dental hygiene. Concerned individuals should be sure to consult a dentist about getting screened for the disease.
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