Thousands of us dread a trip to the dentist – but David Brookes’ check-up proved a lifesaver.
The 48-year-old booked an appointment after complaining of pain caused by his teeth rubbing on his tongue.
And, after he was referred to Birmingham Dental Hospital, checks revealed he had mouth cancer. “It was completely out of the blue,” said David, from Halesowen.
“I just thought it was my teeth cutting into my tongue.
“I phoned the dentist to say I needed something doing because it was getting worse.
“I thought that maybe they could grind my teeth down a bit.
“I never imagined it could be anything to do with cancer, especially as it tends to be due to heavy drinking or smoking and I don’t smoke and also don’t drink a lot.”
David, an IT consultant, underwent surgery in August last year, when a piece of his tongue containing the tumour was cut out.
The organ was then rebuilt using flesh and skin taken from his left wrist and blood vessels from his arm.
Skin was then taken from his stomach and grafted onto his wrist.
David was then given radiotherapy treatment last October.
“It feels like around a third of my tongue was removed during the operation,” he said.
“I haven’t got the manipulation and the dexterity that I had before, and it also affects my taste and my speech a bit.
“I also have to watch anything too spicy or too hot.
“You have to be careful, but I had a good result.
“It could easily have become worse, especially if I had left it a while longer.
“I would certainly urge people with similar problems to get them checked out as soon as possible.”