I am not writing this post to tell you how bad smoking is. Today, it's not possible to avoid hearing that important health message. I just wanted to relate a story about a patient. And I'm not going to show any pictures or his x-rays.
About two weeks ago I met a new patient in a great deal of pain. He was 45 years old. It was severe pain and when I met him the pain was etched across his face. With him was his young teenage daughter. He smoked a pack a day and he didn't like going to doctors and hadn't been to a dentist since his teenage years. The pain made him do something he didn't want to do, see me.
The cancer I found in his mouth was something a general dentist only sees occasionally, usually only in a pathology text book.
I arranged for him to see my Oral Surgeon immediately who called me back an hour later to advise me of his findings. He arranged the patient to see an oncologist. The cancer had spread quite a bit and the prognosis is not good.
I couldn't stop thinking about that patient all day. And his daughter. I probably won't ever see him again but I still think of him. He is only 45.
If he routinely went to a dentist this could have been detected early. We could have been sure we could save his life.
If only he didn't smoke.
We always believe it won't happen to us.
If you smoke...quit.