Oral cancer is a rare type of cancer with a high fatality rate, and cancers of the tongue and mouth have been increasing. Because of the seriousness of this type of cancer, general dentists must properly screen their patients to look for symptoms of mouth or tongue cancer. When a dentist fails to properly screen a patient and to diagnose oral cancer, the patient’s prognosis may be much worse by the time it is detected. Delayed diagnoses and failures to diagnose oral cancer in dental patients are forms of dental malpractice. At Lane & Glassman, Dr. Stanley W. Lane is Florida’s only board-certified oral surgeon and attorney. Our firm has represented many people who have been the victims of Florida dental malpractice and aggressively advocate for the victims to recover damages for their losses.
Some of the symptoms of oral cancer that dentists are supposed to screen for include the following:
The leading causes of oral cancer are alcohol and tobacco use. Many cases are linked to the use of either tobacco or alcohol or a combination of both. People who drink and smoke are at a much higher risk than people who use alcohol or tobacco alone. Some types of oral cancer have also been linked to infections of the HPV 16 virus. People who are ages 40 or older or who have had too much sun exposure are also at risk. Eating a poor diet can increase the risk of these types of cancer. Your dentist should take all of these risk factors into account during your dental appointments.
Early detection of oral cancer is crucial. When cancer has time to metastasize, the likelihood of survival significantly drops. This makes a comprehensive oral exam important to identify the symptoms of oral cancer so that people who have it can be promptly referred to oncologists.
According to a report in Dentistry Today, there are several reasons why dentists might fail to properly diagnose oral cancer. Some of these reasons include the following:
Florida oral cancer malpractice occurs when dentists in Florida fail to meet the accepted standard of care to conduct proper oral cancer screenings when they perform dental exams. If a dentist has performed several oral exams of a patient for years consistently, the dentist may be liable if the patient is discovered to have advanced-stage oral cancer. Under FLA. STAT. § 766.28(1)(x), dentists may be subject to discipline from the Florida Board of Dentistry when they are incompetent and fail to meet the accepted standard of care when diagnosing and treating patients.
If you have been diagnosed with advanced oral cancer, and you believe that your dentist failed to properly screen you for oral cancer during multiple dental appointments, you can file a complaint with the board. You might also have the grounds to file a Florida dental malpractice lawsuit against the dentist under FLA. STAT. § 766.102. An experienced Florida oral cancer malpractice attorney at Lane & Glassman can review your medical and dental records to determine whether your dentist appears to have committed dental malpractice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 800.343.0244.