AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) - It’s a deadly form of cancer that kills one person every hour, every day.
More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer, or cancer of the head and neck, this year. More than 40 percent will die within five years of the diagnosis.
The reason it’s so deadly is that people don’t usually find out they have oral cancer until late in its development. But an area doctor is using new technology to detect it sooner.
Austin dentist Dr. Matthew Steinberg says a routine neck and head exam would have detected Crystal’s cancer. But back then dentists didn’t screen for it.
Steinberg has a new medical device called fluorescence technology. It uses a blue light to identify trouble spots that could indicate early signs of oral cancer.
The exam takes just two minutes.
While it comes too late for Crystal, he hopes it’ll save lives in the future.
Steinberg includes his florescent light exam routine at no charge, but not all dentists have it and insurance coverage could vary depending on the dentist and your insurance. Steinberg adds 40 percent of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer are younger and nonsmokers.