By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Each week, there are three new cases of oral cancer in the country and the dentist is the first person to notice it, according to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.
Hospital San Juan de Dios and the dentistry school at Universidad de Costa Rica are teaming up to combat this phenomenon by creating a new internship focused on identifying and treating lesions that could potentially be cancerous.
Dr. Rodolfo Gamboa, the project manager and specialist at the hospital, said that the great benefit of getting an early diagnosis is the cure rate, which is 90 percent. This is important considering that, for three diagnoses of oral cancer a week there is also two deaths as a result.
Moreover, 55 percent of all registered cases to the Caja for oral cancer are persons between the ages of 20 and 64.
The Proyecto de fortalecimiento de la atención integral del cancer” is expected to invest around $1.5 million in dental equipment for this internship, the Caja said. A total of 44 portable dental units, 18 dental x-ray wall kits and 31 dental x-rays were purchased.
The equipment is expected to improve the images taken on x-rays using a digital rather than the more antiquated acetate plates, the Caja said. This may aid in providing a more accurate diagnosis for patients. The instruments are additionally more patient-friendly in terms of comfort and accessible to disabled persons as well.