‘I credit this dentist with saving my life’

By | October 25, 2017

10958_NDBlog_640x360In July 2012, registered nurse Sandy Wexler went to her dentist for her routine cleaning, just as she always did.

After her cleaning, the dentist did a routine check for oropharyngeal cancer, including a visual inspection and palpating Sandy’s neck. Sandy wasn’t very familiar with exams like this and thought that maybe her new dentist was doing extra tests to pad her bill.

But those “extra tests” turned up something: an enlarged lymph node on the right side of her neck. The dentist urged her to see a specialist who diagnosed Sandy with metastatic squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer. She began treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center – six weeks of radiation and seven weeks of chemotherapy – immediately.

Now Sandy has been cancer-free for five years and is telling her story to stress the importance of regular oropharyngeal cancer screenings in the dental chair.

“I don’t want anybody to think when the new dentists come in and they start with their extensive oral exams and external exams that there’s no reason for it,” she said. “We do see our dentists more often than we see our primary physicians. I would not have seen my primary physician until six months later when I was due for my physical exam.”

The ADA and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (where Sandy received treatment) have joined forces to fight oropharyngeal cancer through encouraging regular screenings, HPV vaccinations and tobacco cessation.

Watch Sandy tell the rest of her story below, then learn more about the risk factors for HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer cases like hers.


7 thoughts on “‘I credit this dentist with saving my life’

  1. TR Shively

    Yes, thank you for sharing. I have routinely provided OCS(oral cancer screening) for patients for many years. Also, I continue to do so at our Free Dental Clinic for those most in need and Veterans in the three-state area(NW Iowa, SW Minnesota & NE South Dakota)…..again thanks. We can not promote this enough. TR Shively, DDS

  2. Dental Cleaning London KY

    This is really inspiring for people who are dealing with oral cancer and other kind of life threatening oral disease. Dentists can help a lot with these things, like you have mentioned in your experience about credit of life saving. By telling people about your journey and things you have gone through, you are doing a great work!
    Dental Cleaning London KY

  3. Holly Olson

    Fear of the dentist is one of the biggest issues concerning dental health. So it’s great to see someone providing useful information to help individuals overcome the fear of going to the dentist.

  4. Brisbane Dentist

    Inspiring article that helps get the message to the public that we offer so much more than fillings, crowns and teeth whitening. Thank you for sharing


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