Patient Experience: How the Dentist May Have Saved Craig Fewox’s Life

If you are one of the countless individuals who visit the dentist just once every couple of years, you may be able to learn a sobering lesson from Craig Fewox. Recently, we sat down with Craig to learn about his experience with Dr. Zamora and how she detected his oral cancer so early in the disease process and potentially saved his life.


Returning to the Dentist

Craig, a 41-year-old electrical engineer, admits that he was always pretty terrible about keeping up with his regular dental checkups. Usually, he would wait for a long time to see a dentist. Once he couldn’t wait any longer, he would make an appointment and then get a ton of work done.

When he first visited Dr. Zamora, it had been about two and a half years since his last dental appointment. He chose Dr. Zamora because his aunt and uncle had talked highly of her and recommended he see Dr. Zamora as his dentist. They said she was very nice, had a light touch, and was super sweet.


Dr. Zamora Identifies a Suspicious Spot

During Craig’s routine examination appointment with Dr. Zamora, she discovered a strange spot on his tongue. Without making him feel nervous about it, she strongly urged him to get a biopsy with the Oral Pathology department at UTHSCSA.

Craig listened to Dr. Zamora’s recommendation despite the fact that he wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms. There was no pain, swelling, or anything noticeable to him in the area of his tongue. As a healthy 41 year old, Craig did not present with the typical risk factors for oral cancer. Even though he had smoked in the past, he had quit over a decade ago. Still, he couldn’t forget that his father was diagnosed with cancer, and it wasn’t caught in a later stage.


Craig’s Battle With Oral Cancer

At first, the doctors thought he had leukoplakia, which is harmless. Still, they performed a biopsy. When Craig went in for his follow-up appointment, by the attitude of the doctor he knew he had bad news coming. He had oral cancer. He had malignant squamous cell carcinoma.

Thanks to Dr. Zamora, the cancer was caught at a very early stage. Still, Craig needed to have surgery, even though chemotherapy and radiation was not going to be necessary. If the cancer was discovered at a later stage, the surgery would have been disfiguring, luckily the results of the surgery were unnoticeable. He has a small speech impediment, but he can cover that up with a Southern accent. The important thing is that he is cancer- free and is able to care for his four-year-old son and have a wonderful quality of life.


The Importance of Dental Checkups

Craig feels lucky that the cancer was caught so early, and he is extremely grateful to Dr. Zamora for spotting that suspicious area on his tongue. She saved his tongue and probably even his life!

Before he visited Dr. Zamora, Craig had no idea that he had developed oral cancer.

Dr Zamora screens every patient for oral cancer during every exam. There is no extra charge for this service. She does this because she cares about the health and quality of life of her patients. She explains what she is looking for and makes you feel informed and comfortable during the process. She has caught many head and neck cancers in the early stages and early detection is key to saving lives.

Craig’s experience underscores the need for everyone to see the dentist regularly. Indeed, Dr Zamora does more than just check the teeth and gums. She is trained to spot signs of serious health conditions, including oral cancer. Regular appointments are essential for identifying such problems before they progress to their later stages.


Ready for a Checkup?

We don’t want Craig’s story to alarm you, but it should instill the importance of visiting your dentist for regular examinations. Please call our office to schedule your examination now.

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