Womens Health

Diagnosed At The Race Track

An unusual event in July 2009 raised the public's conscious on the topic of oral cancer. A dentist, Dr. Robert Trager, has been organizing oral cancer screenings at various venues. This time, Trager's team offered oral cancer screening at the Saratoga Race Course.

Lucky Beneficiary

Oral cancer was detected in one of the lucky beneficiaries of this event. He's lucky because early detection provides the best cure rate for this type of cancer. According to Trager, confirmation of the positive oral cancer diagnosis was obtained after a biopsy was performed at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine at Storrs.

The screenings were performed with Trimira's Identafi 3000 device, a screening tool for the detection of oral cancer that employs a special patented method of triple-wavelength fluorescence in tandem with a reflectance optical system. Identafi 3000 ultra is used to screen for the earliest signs of deadly oral cancer.

In explaining why he chose the Saratoga Race Course as the venue for the screening, Dr. Trager commented, "You have a lot of people who come from all over the country, especially to Saratoga, who haven't been to a dentist. Even the ones who have been to a dentist still don't realize what oral cancer is and how deadly the threat can be."

Five Screenings

Trager's volunteers include dentists, oral surgeons, and dental students affiliated with the Queens, Suffolk, and Nassau county dental societies as well as with the Farmingdale State University of New York's School of Health Sciences' dental hygiene program. The team also provided oral cancer screenings at Belmont Park back in October 2009. During the Belmont Park event, five screenings generated enough suspicion to merit brush biopsies to rule out oral cancer, notes Trager, who was assisted at this event by Drs. Constance, Phillips, John Foty, John L. Guariglia, and Doran Kalman.

Dr. Trager wants the public to know that oral cancer kills one person every hour, on every day of the year. Trager notes that the public is well aware of breast, liver, kidney, thyroid, cervical, colon, and prostate cancers because these cancers are receiving a great deal of funding to support public awareness campaigns. However, Trager says that oral cancer is more deadly than any of these other cancers when one looks at the five-year mortality rate.

According to Trager, 40% of those diagnosed as having oral cancer, will die within five years' time. It is believed that early detection, made possible with regular screenings, would ensure an 80%-90% survival rate.

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