The Risks of Oral Cancer II



It was a case of déjà vu at Griffith Street Family Dental this week for Dr Rakesh Bhula. He said, “I came across a news article about a woman who sought treatment regarding what she thought was a dental abscess, which unfortunately turned out to be a very rare but very aggressive form of oral cancer.”

The patient, 21 year old Ceri Jones from Wales UK, was diagnosed as having adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) – a cancer typically found in the salivary glands. Ceri underwent a 36 hour surgical procedure to remove the ACC. The cancer was so advanced that she needed to have her left eye and facial bones, the left side of the upper jaw, and teeth removed. As part of the reconstructive process titanium plating was used to replace the missing facial bones and skin and muscle was harvested from her right thigh to replace the soft tissue removed from inside the mouth. As a precautionary measure Ceri will undergo radiotherapy for the next few months.

Ceri Jones

Ceri Jones

Dr Rakesh Bhula commented, “Reading the article, the term adenoid cystic carcinoma rang a bell. Along with pleomorphic adenoma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma, I remembered studying about these during our oral pathology classes at the University of Otago’s School of Dentistry. I can recall sitting in a lab looking at slides under a microscope of these pathologies.”

Dr Rakesh Bhula added, “This case is a timely reminder of the importance of regular dental checkups. In fact this topic was discussed in a previous Griffith Street Family Dental blog entry regarding oral cancer published in late October last year (link here- Hopefully if these pathologies are detected early enough this will minimise the invasiveness of the treatment required and improve the overall prognosis for the patient.”

Here at Griffith Street Family Dental we treat our patients as a whole. That means we take a proactive approach with our dental examinations, checking not only the teeth, but also all the soft tissues in the mouth for any abnormalities. Along with oral health therapist Cheryll Dunn, Dr Selvan Dass and Dr Rakesh Bhula check the lips, tongue, cheeks, roof and floor of the mouth, gums and throat at every dental examination appointment. Patients can be rest assured they are in safe hands at Griffith Street Family Dental.

If you, or anyone you know has any concerns, please contact our friendly team at Griffith Street Family Dental to make a consultation appointment.