WALTHAM, MA—Dr. Neela Gandhi of Rofe Dental Associates, who will be speaking on “Oral Health is Overall Health” will also provide free oral cancer screening at the upcoming Health & Wellness Expo 2014 at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA, on Sunday, April 20.
“More than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, and general dentists act as the first line of defense against this deadly disease,” said Dr. Gandhi. “To help raise awareness and promote the active screening of dental patients, we will host FREE oral cancer screenings during the the Health Expo.
Dr. Gandhi received her DMD degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2006. Dr. Gandhi practiced as an associate in Nairobi, Kenya for several years and also worked as a clinical associate in the Craniofacial Pain Center at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. In addition to her clinical practice, she contributes a tremendous time to organized dentistry.
Here are some tips on detecting oral cancer from American Dental Association:
• You can take steps to prevent oral cancer. Learn the risk factors and adopt a lifestyle that protects your oral health. Visit your dentist regularly. He or she can look for changes that could indicate disease.
• Checking for signs of oral cancer is part of a regular dental checkup. Your dentist can examine your oral tissues easily by looking at your lips and inside your mouth. He or she will check your gingivae (gums) carefully, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue (the sides and underneath). Also, the dentist will look at the roof and floor of your mouth.
WHAT IS MY DENTIST LOOKING FOR?
• A red or white patch
• A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
• A thick or hard spot or a lump
• A roughened or crusted area.
Other signs of oral cancer include numbness, pain or tenderness, or a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down. Tell your dentist about any problems you have when chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Many of the risk factors for oral cancer stem from behaviors that can be avoided. Oral cancer most often develops in people who smoke (cigarettes, pipes or cigars) and drink heavily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers heavy drinking to be an average of two drinks a day or more for men and an average of more than one drink a day for women. Smokeless tobacco products also increase one’s risk of developing oral lesions. Repeated and prolonged exposure to the sun can cause lip cancer. Infection with some forms of the human papillomavirus places people at risk as well. A diet low in fruits and vegetables also seems to increase the chance of developing the disease. If you have had oral cancer, you may be more likely to develop it again.
HOW CAN MY DENTIST HELP?
Your dentist is interested not only in your teeth. He or she checks the general appearance and health of your oral tissues as part of a regular examination and looks for any changes or abnormalities in your mouth, face and neck. Your dentist will not be able to diagnose cancer during an examination. Oral cancer can be diagnosed only with a biopsy, when a sample of tissue in the area is removed and exam-ined under a microscope.
However, your dentist can identify suspicious-looking areas or growths that may need further evaluation. The American Dental Association has developed recommendations to help your dentist in checking for signs of oral cancer. If anything unusual appears during your examination, he or she might reexamine you in one or two weeks.
Words from the Chair of Health & Wellness Expo:
The Health & Wellness Expo is chaired by Dr, Manju Sheth and organized by INDIA New England News. It is a free event for the community and will be held on April 20, 2014 at Burlington Marriott in Burlington, MA. Dr. Sheth is a Board certified internist at Lahey Health and President of Indian Medical Association of New England 2013. She is very dedicated to women’s causes and education of community in health related issues, especially those specific to South Asian population.
Says Dr. Sheth: “I have always felt that while treatment can be specific to a specialty of medicine, healing is a collaborative effort with all health care providers, including alternative medicine. It also involves tapping into power within ourselves which will be the focus of our talk on mind and body medicine led by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra. We are honored to bring some of the best experts in traditional medicine who will talk about common medical problems with updates in diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. The talks will be conducted by a team of excellent moderators. Our goal in this Expo is also to educate people about optimum health which again is a collaborative effort. We are pleased to bring experts in Indian diet, skin care, yoga, stress management, fitness and meditation. We have also included an important segment on dental health. We are very thankful to the community for their wholehearted support in making our first Mega Health Expo last year such a huge success and are planning to make this an yearly tradition in New England.”