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Valley dentist encourages oral cancer tests

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.

The American Dental Association says 44,000 Americans will get oral or throat cancer this year.

Chandler dentist Justin Phillip said he has seen a lot of patients get those diseases.

"One American dies every hour from oral cancer," said Philipp. "It's actually as deadly as melanoma, and more common than leukemia."

There can be several symptoms, he said.

"Pain, swelling, tingling, a visible red or white patch or bump. Unfortunately, you don't see any of the symptoms until you get to stage 3 or 4, and that's when the cancer can spread," said Philipp.

He said it's easy to treat if caught early. And it just takes a simple two-minute test, usually while your dentist cleans your teeth.

"We have you swish with some liquid," Philipp said. "Then we use a special wavelength of light along with some glasses. What we see is the cancer when it's stage 1 or 2, and easy to treat. It will actually glow, and we can take care of it."

The test usually costs about $30. This month, Philipp is donating $5 from every oral cancer exam to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Click here to visit Philipp's website.

In the videos below, Philipp performs a check for oral cancer on a female patient.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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