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Join the Fight Against Oral Cancer – Episode #358


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Close to 54,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. By encouraging patients to add a simple oral cancer screening light exam with their traditional head and neck oral exam, you can help reduce that number. On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Ryan talks with Amber Young of OralCancerCause.org about oral cancer and why there’s a need to raise awareness.

 

Show notes:
www.oralcancercause.org

 

 


 

Podcast Transcript

Ryan Isaac:
Hello everybody. Welcome back to the Dentist Money Show, brought to you by Dentist Advisors, a no commission fiduciary, comprehensive financial advisor, just only for dentists all over the country. Check us out at dentistadvisors.com. Today on the show, I am coming to you live from the Dental Whale Business Immersion Summit 2022, Las Vegas. Super fancy, really cool event. And I have a new friend of the show, Amber Young, from Oral Cancer Cause. Amber is an oral cancer survivor, has a really incredibly unique story. And she talks about her own personal experience with this, her detection, the rise in the rates of oral cancer, the role that dentists play in prevention and the cause that she’s a part of, Oral Cancer Cause, and especially some of the big fundraisers and event they do every year. We recorded this in the fall of 2022. Their next big event’s coming up in the spring 2023.

Ryan Isaac:
Very cool. It was really great to sit down with Amber, awesome story, really inspiring such a nice person and really grateful for her, spending some time and sharing all this important information with us. In fact, as I went to my dentist appointment today, true story, I specifically asked that they do a check, which they were gonna do anyway because they’re an awesome office. But it’s not something I’ve even been aware of and I didn’t even know this was that big of a thing and how prevalent it is. And so this is just very enlightening and lots of cool information and ways for offices to get involved with the organization and in their community, make awareness for people like me, who are patients and don’t even know, that this stuff is so prevalent.

Ryan Isaac:
So thank you Amber, for being on the show. Thank you Oral Cancer Cause for being such a great organization and being our new friends. And if you have any questions for us dentist advisors, if you have a money question and you want to ask a money question to a dental specific advisor, we love answering money questions. So go to dentistadvisors.com, click the book free consultation button. We can have a five minute chat, an hour long chat. We’re here to point you in the right direction to answer your money questions and help you make smart financial decisions. Thanks again Amber. Thanks again to all of you for being here. Enjoy the show.

Announcer:
Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by dentist advisors, a registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money. Now here’s your host, Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac:
Welcome to the Dentist Money Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host Ryan and I’m here today with a new friend of the show, Amber Young, from Oral Cancer Cause. Amber, thanks for being here. [laughter]

Amber Young:
Oh, thank you so much for having me, Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. We are here live at the Dental Whale, what is it? The Business Immersion Summit. That’s the name of it?

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Did I get that right? Okay. Dental Whale Business Immersion. We’re at the ARIA Hotel Las Vegas 2022. What do you guys do here? What’s been helpful and have you been here before for Dental Whale?

Amber Young:
We haven’t. So Dental Whale came into our world last year during… Well actually no, this year in April. And they joined us for our social bond, which is an all day social media event that we put on for educating, doctors and dentists. And really honestly, the whole population. It’s hosted on Facebook and they came on, and Joe was so kind to be a sponsor and come in and they’ve embraced us as the non-profit for Dental Whale.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, okay. You’re like the official non-profit for Dental whale.

Amber Young:
We are.

Ryan Isaac:
That is really exciting.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
What has that done for you? Or how have you guys been involved together?

Amber Young:
: So many things. So they came and joined us on the social bond and they really embraced the platform of what we’re doing and trying to help raise awareness to oral cancer.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
It’s the number one killer of all cancers. It hasn’t had an increase in survival rates in the last four decades.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay let me get this straight. These are things I do not know.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:

Oral cancer is the number one cancer ever. Overall.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Total. It’s not skin cancer, it’s not… It’s oral cancer.

Amber Young:
It kills one person every hour, every single day.

Ryan Isaac:
That I just can’t even wrap my head around that.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. And what did you say, the mortality rate is not improving?

Amber Young:
No. It hasn’t in the last four decades.

Ryan Isaac:
Meaning early detection is not happening. And that would also mean treatment is not being effective?

Amber Young:
Correct.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh my goodness.

Amber Young:
Yeah. So that’s…

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
That’s what we do.

Ryan Isaac:
So that’s Oral Cancer Care Foundation.

Amber Young:
Oral Cancer Cause.

Ryan Isaac:
Cause?

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Cancer. OCC.

Amber Young:
OCC.

Ryan Isaac:
OCC, Oral Cancer Cause.

Amber Young:
That’s right. So what we do is, actually we’re founded in 2013 by Linda Miles and Robin Morrison, who both [0:04:43.8] ____.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
And they actually both lost a loved one to oral cancer.

Ryan Isaac:
Really?

Amber Young:
And they realized that there was a gaping hole when it came down to patients and advocacy and care at the end. Like there was no resources, if a patient needed help getting something, they just didn’t have financial assistance for that. So they started this non-profit.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh to help with the…

Amber Young:
To help with patients. So all of the money that’s raised with the Oral Cancer Cause goes to education and then to patients’ families…

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. Cool.

Amber Young:
Going through the journey. Like if they need help getting to treatment or they need help, paying their light bill or they need help putting their child through…

Ryan Isaac:
Oh geez. Cool.

Amber Young:
Child care while they’re going through recovery. That’s what we do.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. So I have so many questions.

Amber Young:
[chuckle] I love it. Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. It started in 2013. How did you get involved?

Amber Young:
So in 2015 I was diagnosed with the rarest cancer in the world. [laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. Oh, hold on. So as if, and you’re laughing, so, as if oral cancer, like you just said, was not the most deadly and seemingly the least treatable.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
You had the rarest form of it.

Amber Young:
Yeah. So in 2015, I was every dentist’s favorite patient. I was then like $99 new patient coupon mailer.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, you were going around like whoever’s?

Amber Young:
No, no, we had just moved and I got a flyer in the mail.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. Oh, you were the one who responded to it?

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Perfectly as marketing intended.

Amber Young:
Yeah. I showed up with my husband and my daughter and myself to do our new patient exam and they offered a panoramic. And then for an additional $20, they offered me an oral cancer screening with the VELscope.

Ryan Isaac:
I don’t know if I’ve ever had one in my whole life.

Amber Young:
Exactly.

Ryan Isaac:
Would I have had a oral cancer screening and not known?

Amber Young:
Possibly.

Ryan Isaac:
Or would I have known.

Amber Young:
Because they’ve done palpitations and felt on your neck and kind of gave you a massage felt like?

Ryan Isaac:
Maybe. I don’t recall.

Amber Young:
Well, now we’re gonna get…

Ryan Isaac:
I should probably go to the dentist more often to be, if we’re being honest here. I haven’t been in a while.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
So, yeah. Okay.

Amber Young:
Let’s get, we’ll get educated on it and now you’ll know what to ask for.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah.

Amber Young:
And that’s what we’re here to do.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
So I went in, they did the panoramic, they did this oral cancer screening using the VELscope, which is a device that illuminates with the light, and then it kind of…

Ryan Isaac:
‘Cause you can see it.

Amber Young:
It shows you the tissue under… The tissue. And so it will show if anything’s abnormal.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. Okay.

Amber Young:
Well, then the dentist walked in and the practice manager and the hygienist and they said, “Hey, we compared these two things and you have what we call a dark spot.” And I was like, “Okay”, just like your might be…

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. Should I floss more or what do you…

Amber Young:
Yeah. And I was 35 at the time. Non-Smoker. Perfectly healthy. Had no issues. Literally was just growing as a new patient. And they’re like, “You gotta go get better imaging.” So I went to an oral surgeon and I got better imaging and it ended up at that dark spot was a golf ball sized tumor growing inside my jawbone. But it was internalized, kind of hidden back in the bend and you couldn’t feel it when you did a palpitation. And so it’s five centimeters in mass. It was an actual size of a golf ball breaking my jaw and pushing my nerve out of the way, so.

Ryan Isaac:
Wait, and you don’t notice any of this just day-to-day?

Amber Young:
No. Nothing.

Ryan Isaac:
Chewing, biting?

Amber Young:
Nothing. Nothing.

Ryan Isaac:
Nothing at all. So, okay. So it’s also highly like not noticed by people you have it?

Amber Young:
Yeah. So yeah. A lot of oral cancers can show up as like a lesion or maybe like a sore on your the back of your tongue that has not healed or just some oddness.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
And then like in my case, there was no symptoms.

Ryan Isaac:
Nothing. Yeah.

Amber Young:
And so, when I finally got to pathology and got where I needed to go, they biopsied it and it came back as literally the rarest cancer in the world. And the doctors all walked in and they… [chuckle] the interns lined the hall. And I knew I was having a different conversation than what I came there to hear. And they…

Ryan Isaac:
And this is… Sorry, this is taking place in an oral surgery office or oncology setting, or…

Amber Young:
Well, this… At this point, the oral surgeon couldn’t actually remove the mask. So they had me go down to the Medical University of South Carolina. So I got sent to the dental college. And I walked in and he said, “You know, your pathology, something’s gone horribly wrong. We’ve never seen this before”. Right? And he’s like, “It’s a cancer that no one has. Like there’s no one in the world right now that has this. There’s only been 74-ish cases and they were in third world countries in the early ’80s.

Ryan Isaac:
Ever. And we don’t have data.

Amber Young:
Right. And we have no data. And by the way, it’s 95% aggressive chemotherapy and radiation aren’t effective. And it has killed everybody within five years.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. So you’re hearing this news at 35 years old…

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
From your oral surgeon and now the dental college in your town. In your town, this is where you live? Oh, you flew to…

Amber Young:
No, I had to drive three hours.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, you drove there, okay.

Amber Young:
Yep.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. So…

Amber Young:
I said, “Hey, what are we gonna do?” And they said, “We’re gonna send you home. We’re gonna have to call some people and figure it out.”

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. ‘Cause they don’t know.

Amber Young:
They didn’t know.

Ryan Isaac:
This isn’t… There’s not 10,000 people going through treatments for the same thing.

Amber Young:
Correct. So they went to tumor board and they called all the oncologists and plastic surgeons, radiologists all across the world and held a lot of meetings about it and kind of waited. It took about a month before they got back to me with what the plan was.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. 30 days of…

Amber Young:
Yeah. Of crazy. It was 30 days of crazy. I bought all the case studies and write them all and threw all that junk in the trash. And then… [chuckle]

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, okay. You’re like, “Nope…

Amber Young:
I was like, “Well that’s not good”.

Ryan Isaac:
I’ll wait for new info”.

Amber Young:
I called the CDC and I was like, “Oh my gosh, you gotta have research for this.” And they said, “No, actually you have to have a certain number of people inflicted with a disease before we can research it.” So I was literally too rare for the CDC. So I just… I just kinda waited. And finally on Memorial Day in 2015, they called with the plan.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
And it was that we were going to do one radical surgery. We’re gonna cut out the whole entire right side of my jaw. And I had to replace it with bone from either my fibula or my scapula.

Ryan Isaac:
Yikes.

Amber Young:
And it was gonna be a 22 hour surgery. We don’t know if it’s gonna work and we don’t know if insurance is gonna cover it. [chuckle] I said…

Ryan Isaac:
And you’re like, “Well, what else am I gonna do? So let’s go.”

Amber Young:
I said, Well, what’s my plan B? What’s my second option? What’s behind door number two? He said, “Well, you can go home on hospice at 35.”

Ryan Isaac:
Just wait. Yeah.

Amber Young:
And said, “Well, I guess we’re having a surgery.” [chuckle]

Ryan Isaac:
Oh my goodness.

Amber Young:
So within a month, it was a month, I checked in on June 21st, 2015. And we went in and did a radical surgery.

Ryan Isaac:
Whoa.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
And who’s doing… Okay. So because it’s not just mouth and jaw. So this is like an oral Maxwell surgeon plus…

Amber Young:
Oh yeah. I had a whole team. I had my oncologist, I had a plastic surgeon, my oral maxillofacial, and it was 22 hours. And they tagged in and out. They did a team thing, they had to remove… They had to remove my jaw first, and then they had to remove my scapula to replace it. And you can see me and I have a disfigurement on my face and it’s permanently there. But that’s my scapula.

Ryan Isaac:Ryan Isaac:
That is your scapula.

Amber Young:
There’s 51 staples and stitches in my back to remove that. So I lost ability to use my arm, and then I couldn’t talk, I had a tracheotomy and wasn’t able to eat. I didn’t eat for seven months.

Ryan Isaac:
What?

Amber Young:
Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
So this is… Okay. So this is happening in 2015. Post-surgery, recovery’s insane.

Amber Young:
Yeah. A lot of physical therapy. I was like super starved I could lift a pound weight.

Ryan Isaac:
Months and months and months and months. Yeah. I am sure.

Amber Young:
I was like, “I’m doing this”.

Ryan Isaac:
And eat something.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. Not to make this too light, but what was the first thing you ate when you could eat again? And do you remember that? Was it a good feeling?

Amber Young:
Oh, my God. I did not even tell you I remember it. I did not…

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. I’m projecting, but I imagine the first meal would be just amazing.

Amber Young:
I know. So I had this problem because of the muscle doesn’t belong there. Right?

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah.

Amber Young:
And so it didn’t wanna behave.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, muscle too.

Amber Young:
Yeah. It didn’t.

Ryan Isaac:
It’s bone and muscle.

Amber Young:
Yeah. So this cheek part is the muscle. Right.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
And it didn’t wanna behave. So I would go into my physical therapist and do…

Ryan Isaac:
Train your jaw muscle to…

Amber Young:
A little radical therapy that really wasn’t approved. And so it’s basically, I used a device called the H-Wave and I would put it on kinda like a tins unit. And I would shock my face. Because I had trismus, my mouth wouldn’t open more than an eighth of an inch. So it wasn’t that I didn’t wanna eat, it’s just that…

Ryan Isaac:
You couldn’t.

Amber Young:
I couldn’t get… I couldn’t get anything in there.

Ryan Isaac:
You couldn’t.

Amber Young:
And I would do this for 30 minutes. I’d put nodes on, I’d shock my face, and then it would relax my muscles to allow my mouth to open.

Ryan Isaac:
And then you could practice.

Amber Young:
Oh no. Then I would leave like a bat out of hell and I’d drive to the nearest place and shove food in my face.

Ryan Isaac:
For real? [chuckle]

Amber Young:
Yeah. [chuckle]

Ryan Isaac:
Where would you go? Where would you go?

Amber Young:
No, I went to the nearest burger joint and I would shove food in my face and it took about 30 minutes before the muscles tightened back up.

Ryan Isaac:
Whoa.

Amber Young:
And I did this for six months.

Ryan Isaac:
Whoa.

Amber Young:
And that was like the only time I could eat. They trained me to go in and do this, this with myself. And I would walk in and do it, but it’s also what gave me the ability to be able to talk. So I had my whole entire mouth reworked. Like this smile that you get to see…

Ryan Isaac:
Everything.

Amber Young:
That no one gets to see, is $95,000 in three years worth of reconstruction with my prosthodontist.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh my goodness.

Amber Young:
Yeah. And when I met her… For the first time I met her, she said, “It’s gonna be $95,000, this would be three years in the chair.” And I said, “I don’t have $95,000 to give you and I don’t have three years to give you. You gave… They gave me five years to live, three of them are not gonna be in your chair.” I said, “Pull out my teeth and give me dentures.” She said, “You’re 35 and you don’t know what you’re asking me to do.” I said, “I don’t have $95,000 and I don’t have three years. Give me dentures.” And she said, “No, I’m not doing it.” She said, “If you lose all your teeth, you’re gonna lose all your bone and you won’t even be able to hold dentures in your mouth.” And I was like, “Oh. Oh, what do I do?” She said, “If I can get this covered by your medical insurance, will you promise me you’ll come sit in this chair and get the treatment?” I said, “If you get it covered by my medical insurance, I’ll do…

[chuckle]

Ryan Isaac:
I’ll do whatever you want. I don’t care.

Amber Young:
Whatever you want me to do. I don’t care”. She got it covered by my medical insurance.

Ryan Isaac:
No way.

Amber Young:
And I drove every month, three times a month to Charleston three hours. I would leave my house at 5:30, drop my kids off, hit the prosthodontist chair by 9:00 AM, do my treatment, realign my bite, whatever it is. These are all crowns, veneers, partials and implants.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
What a great job!

Amber Young:
Yeah. [chuckle] It’s phenomenal. So if you’ve ever wondered what a million dollar smile is, this is pretty close.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. Okay, so I’m imagining some of these doctors have to be… Well, I’m thinking a few things. Number one, some of these doctors have to be kind of like angels to you.

Amber Young:
They are all my earth angels. It’s phenomenal.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah, that’s amazing. Also, you are probably now an impetus for case studies that didn’t exist.

Amber Young:
Oh, absolutely.

Ryan Isaac:
So now, you’re like a white paper in medical journals.

Amber Young:
I am. Because like I was the only one.

Ryan Isaac:
For multiple disciplines.

[laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
Because even… I’m just thinking like, not only for the dentist, but the oncologist and the plastic surgeon. And maybe I don’t know if there’s a shoulder orthopedic surgeon?

Amber Young:
The same as my plastic surgeon, same one.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. I mean, there has to be a first case, the… What’s the TENS unit, right? The TENS unit?

Amber Young:
Yeah. I used an H-Wave. And you know it was approved for TMJ, but of course, it’s not working for this.

Ryan Isaac:
No. Because it didn’t exist.

Amber Young:
I’m like, “I don’t know if this is gonna work”. I’m like, “Let’s do it”.

Ryan Isaac:
So you pioneered probably research in some data that the next person will find… Will be able to look at.

Amber Young:
Yeah. And my physical therapist is literally my best friend now.

Ryan Isaac:
Really?

Amber Young:
Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. So this is 2015 going on… And it goes into 2018, as you’re getting all this reconstructed. The backing up, the organization started in 2013 as you said.

Amber Young:
It did.

Ryan Isaac:
And then how did you connect to this?

Amber Young:
So the way that I even got in connection with the Oral Cancer Cause was, I was in a panic before my surgery when I got the call.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, of course.

Amber Young:
And I thought I was gonna bankrupt my family.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, totally.

Amber Young: And I started a GoFundMe page [chuckle] like anybody would probably do.

Ryan Isaac:
Totally. Oh yeah.

Amber Young:
And within 24 hours of it being shared, someone asked me for my personal information. And they said, they thought they had someone or knew someone that could help me. And so I was like, “Absolutely, I will take anything”.

Ryan Isaac:
Totally.

Amber Young:
And that night, I was on the phone with one of the founders, Linda Miles and then Robin Morrison. And we were just having general conversation. They connected me with other oral cancer survivors that I could talk to before my surgery so I could know what to plan for. And then she asked me, she said, “What’s your diagnosis?” And I told her, “Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma”. And she said, “Oh, I’ve heard of that.”

Ryan Isaac:
What?

Amber Young:
I said, “No, like, no one… Like nobody’s heard of this. Like not really”. She’s like, “No, we helped another man with this cancer last year.”

Ryan Isaac:
What?

Amber Young:
And I said, “Are you serious?” And that night, I was on the phone with the other… The only other survivor of this type of cancer.

Ryan Isaac:
So how did nobody know about this? It’s one person.

Amber Young:
Well, because he’s treated at the Cancer Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, and they were retaining all the data and trying to help him the best they could. And so immediately, I went from being the only one in 7.9 billion to now there’s two. There’s two of us.

Ryan Isaac:
There’s two people in… Yeah. [chuckle]

Amber Young:
And since then we’ve come up to the number four.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh wow.

Amber Young:
There’s been four other people… Or two other people, so now we’re four. And we’re journeying through this thing.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. Where are all these people, around the world, around the country?

Amber Young:
No, just around the country. And some of them were stage zero, some of them were early. I’ve just got a call that someone’s mother has been diagnosed with it, she’s 73 and going for her surgery in three months. And what we do… So back to the Oral Cancer Cause. I had the conversation with them. They opened my world up to all of these different things that I didn’t know were out there.

Ryan Isaac:
Amazing.

Amber Young:
And about two weeks later, I got a card in the mail with a substantial check that said, “Put your son in daycare while you’re going through recovery.

Ryan Isaac:
Amazing.

Amber Young:
My daughter was eight, my son was one. I hadn’t even processed that I wasn’t gonna be able to take care of my children and pick him up if he’s learning to walk.

Ryan Isaac:
Not at all. Someone just told that you need a $95,000, a three-year smile.

Amber Young:
Well, that… Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
I think it happened yet.

Amber Young:
And well, that hadn’t happened yet. So I hadn’t had that prosthodontist because I hadn’t gone in for the surgery yet. So I was just so floored that these strangers would send me money to take care of my family in a time of need when there was nobody else in the world, and that’s what the Oral Cancer Cause does.

Ryan Isaac:
Amazing. That’s cool.

Amber Young:
And so, I was lucky enough, after all my radical therapies and things, to not lose my ability to speak, right?

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah.

Amber Young:
All my friends who go through oral cancer surgery, have pieces of their palettes or their teeth or their tongue removed and they can no longer speak clearly.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
And so, I vowed at that point in time to use my voice to educate on oral cancer awareness, oral cancer screenings, early detection, and raising funds for the Oral Cancer Cause.

Ryan Isaac:
Amazing. So what year did you join the cause? Like immediately. [chuckle]

Amber Young:
I was immediately in it in 2015. But it’s funny ’cause Linda said, “I have a plan for you.” And I was like,”Okay.” I had so many other things going on. But then she… When I was healed, she said, “Okay, it’s time.” And she flew me out and I walked into a conference of a 1,000 doctors and I gave my presentation. And that’s what we do.

Ryan Isaac:
Amazing, okay. So from the foundation perspective, what’s an… A typical year look like for fundraising and events and how do people get involved in?

Amber Young:
So we do all sorts of fun stuff. So April is our oral cancer awareness month. So we actually came up with our own form of, let’s say, an ice bucket challenge, right?

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah, okay.

Amber Young:
It’s called the bubble gum challenge. And I send bubblegum into dental practices in the month of April. And we have people blow bubbles for those who can’t.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh cool. Oh that’s so cool.

Amber Young:
It’s a social media campaign. You can put it on your front… Of your front desk, in your waiting room. Patients can come in. Before they go in for their cleaning, chew a piece of bubble.

Ryan Isaac:
Blow a bubble.

Amber Young:
Blow a bubble, take a picture.

Ryan Isaac:
Take a picture.

Amber Young:
Tag back your practice that you’re doing oral cancer screenings.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, cool.

Amber Young:
Right. So it becomes a big social media campaign that your office can utilize and also helps raise awareness to oral cancer screenings.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
We do the Socialthon which is where Dental Whale had joined us last year.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
It’s always in the month of April. It’s an all day thing. John Stanford host it.

Ryan Isaac:
Awesome.

Amber Young:
It’s phenomenal.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah.

Amber Young:
We have science teams, we have doctors, consultants, survivors, all come on nonstop, telethon style, all day.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
And it’s streamed on Facebook, it’s streamed on LinkedIn, it’s streamed on YouTube, and it’s always there as an informational piece for people. We host 5Ks all around the country, so we really do a lot in the month of April.

Ryan Isaac:
Very busy.

Amber Young:
Yeah. And so we rely on donations to help our families.

Ryan Isaac:
Which people? And people can donate how and where?

Amber Young:
Oh, absolutely. You can go to the website, oralcancercause.org, and donate any time.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Amber Young:
We have sponsorships available for all of our events that we do across the country, and all they have to do is reach out. But yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Who’s a typical sponsor? Like, corporate people in the industry or individual practices sponsor?

Amber Young:
We had all types which is really cool. Like Dental Whale was a sponsor, but then some of their partners came in and sponsored for us, like Studio 360, which is actually here in Las Vegas.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool. Yeah.

Amber Young:
It’s a lab. We really don’t discriminate when it comes to donations.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. We’ll take money.

Amber Young:
I’m here to help a family and save someone’s life. And ease their quality of life as they’re going through this transition, so anything helps.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. That’s amazing. Okay. So, I’m thinking about two kind of different tracks and questions for our audience. One for patients. What would you wish patients would know about oral cancer and the role a dentist can play in oral cancer screening?

Amber Young:
I think the biggest thing is that there is, it doesn’t discriminate.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah.

Amber Young:
It doesn’t matter.

Ryan Isaac:
Good hygiene, bad hygiene, good health, poor health.

Amber Young:
Yes. Smoking, non-smoking, age in… None of that matters.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow.

Amber Young:
 With HPV being the number one leading cause of oral cancer, that can just lie dormant in your system.

Ryan Isaac:
HPV is the number one cause…

Amber Young:
Of oral cancer.

Ryan Isaac:
And HPV is a very, very common virus.

Amber Young:
Yep.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah.

Amber Young:
Yeah. And that’s why you could be a non-smoker and have an HPV derived oral cancer or esophageal cancer. And so, raising awareness to the fact that it doesn’t matter what your thought process was around that, the screening is innovasive, it’s easy, it’s…

Ryan Isaac:
And it’s done while you’re there for a cleaning, anyway.

Amber Young:
It’s done while you’re there for a cleaning anyway. It’s just a light, a flashlight that they shine in your mouth.

Ryan Isaac:
That’s it. Yeah.

Amber Young:
That’s it.

Ryan Isaac:
And some massaging.

Amber Young:
And some massaging, which is kind of nice.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. But I don’t claim to be the most aware person.

Amber Young:
No, me neither.

Ryan Isaac:
But I would assume that a lot of patients don’t, just don’t know that that’s a thing. That the cancer is that pervasive or severe and that dentists are the ones who are helping detect it.

Amber Young:
Right. And really if you think about it, like if you go to your regular general doctor, are they looking in your mouth?

Ryan Isaac:
No, never. Never ever.

Amber Young:
Exactly. So the dentists are the frontline of that early protection.

Ryan Isaac:
100%

Amber Young:
If I’m feeling something weird in my throat and I’m going to my dentist or my doctor, we have to talk about it. If you feel like you have a lesion or there’s something wrong, or you’re not swallowing properly, or you feel a pain or there’s a sore that’s not healing like you think it should, go talk to them.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. Ask questions.

Amber Young:
Get the screening. Get the screening. It’s simple. It can eliminate and immediately…

Ryan Isaac:
My appointment is in… I have a cleaning in two weeks, I’m gonna do this.

Amber Young:
Oh, fantastic.

Ryan Isaac:
I’ll bet my doctor’s so awesome. We just moved. I haven’t been there yet, but I bet he does it. But I’m gonna ask now.

Amber Young:
Yeah, you absolutely should.

Ryan Isaac:
And for my kids… That’s a big thing. My other question similar is what would you like dentists to know about their role in this? Again, I’m probably just really ignorant. Maybe all of my dentists have always done this, but I don’t remember or recall this. So what would you want a dentist office and practice and team to know about this?

Amber Young:
I would definitely love them to educate about the services they’re providing to their patients. Like explain to you like, “Hey, part of your annual cleaning, we do… ”

Ryan Isaac:
And why you should be here.

Amber Young:
And… Yeah. “We do this oral screening for your protection, for your preventive care.”

Ryan Isaac:
Totally.

Amber Young:
The other thing is, it can be tricky. It’s a tricky conversation. Like some people just get so blocked when they say oral cancer screening, like “No, it’s not me. Don’t do it.”

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. “I don’t wanna know.” Yeah, yeah. Totally.

Amber Young:
But if we start that education piece about it, like this is why we’re doing it, this is important. It’s…

Ryan Isaac:
Do you find that a lot of offices don’t do this?

Amber Young:
Well, I think that sometimes when they’re in cheer side or you’re in the heat of the moment and you’re trying to sell it…

Ryan Isaac:
A lot of other things going on.

Amber Young:
Yeah. There’s a lot of other things going on. If there’s an additional fee…

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, but you have to charge… You’re right. You have to charge for it.

Amber Young:
If there’s an additional fee, I always recommend rolling that up into the cost of your exam.

Ryan Isaac:
Increase everything 10 bucks and then…

Amber Young:
Right. And cover it and just call it part of the exam. And then, really, you might have a better success rate of people accepting it.

Ryan Isaac:
Totally. And let your community know. I mean, you don’t wanna say market with it, but market with it let your community know you as a dentist and an office and a team are looking for this.

Amber Young:
Yeah. You’re a progressive forward thinking dentist that is here for your patient’s care.

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. What’s next for you guys in the foundation? What’s the next big event that you’re working on?

Amber Young:
Oh, my goodness. We actually…

Ryan Isaac:
I guess, you probably get ready for April like months in advance. I’m sure it’s huge.

If you knew how hard I work to source bubble gum, which is a crazy statement.

Ryan Isaac:
Where do you get that from? Where do you get it from?

Amber Young:
Like it’s hard. Tootsie Pop is like, we don’t have that much sometimes. It’s a lot. It’s a lot. I had to buy…

Ryan Isaac:
How much bubble gum are we talking?

Amber Young:
They have sell it in buckets at Sam’s for $8.

Ryan Isaac:
Buckets of Bubble Gum. Okay.

Amber Young:
I’m serious. Double bubble.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Amber Young:
I bought out the whole state of South Carolina and North Carolina one year and I’m literally pushing flats of Bubble gum. A lady stopped me, she’s like, “Hey, you coach Little League?”

[laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
You’re like, “Exactly”.

Amber Young:
And I was like, I’m like, “No”.

Ryan Isaac:
“No, dude”.

Amber Young:
“No, but don’t worry about this bubblegum. They’re fine. Just kidding. Mind your business”. [laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
Wow. So you emptied out all the Costcos in three different states. Okay.

Amber Young:
Yeah. So it’s a lot because… And we replenish the boxes.

Ryan Isaac:
How many offices are we talking about that you were putting gum in?

Amber Young:
Last time we did it in 1600, but all of the Heartland practices…

Ryan Isaac:
My goodness. Really?

Amber Young:
Are coming on board, it’s really… Yeah. We have a…

Ryan Isaac:
With all the DSO connections around nowadays.

Amber Young:
We have a partnership with them. Dental Whale, and a whole lot of their partnerships are gonna be doing it. We have private practices that come in and do it. It’s available. It’s basically a whole month event.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool.

Amber Young:
And it’s on our website. It’s $129, we ship it to you.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool.

Amber Young:
And it comes with all sorts of signage and educational pieces.

Ryan Isaac:
It seems like a pretty big no brainer if you’re not.

Amber Young:
It’s super awesome.

Ryan Isaac:
So all of the 26,000 people who download this show every month, most are practice owners. I don’t know.

[laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
So if you’re not doing this, 129 bucks to participate in a bubble gum challenge, you should do that.

Amber Young:
Yeah. And we offer education and to practices and if your practice needs to understand why they’re doing it, we always can do a Zoom call and share stories and…

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah. Totally.

Amber Young:
And really help with that educational piece. But yeah, so we do a lot of that. We’ve got April, which I plan for like now.

Ryan Isaac:
It’s starting now. Oh yeah, I’m sure.

Amber Young:
I’m already planning for April now to renew the calls.

Ryan Isaac:
Sure.

Amber Young:
But we do several different events year round. So we’re very blessed that we have so many companies that have embraced us.

Ryan Isaac:
Busy. Things going on.

Amber Young:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
That is really cool. Okay, so once again, where do they find you? How do they reach out? How do people donate or learn more for their office?

Amber Young:
Oh, yeah. For sure. It’s all available on our website, which is oralcancercause.org. There is the bubble gum challenge there. There’s a hosting 5Ks, there’s information.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. So, where can people find you to reach out for education, participate in events, and donate?

Amber Young:
Oh, awesome. They can come to our website @oralcancercause.org. All of that information is available there.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. And so we’re talking about the month of April, the bubblegum challenge, 5Ks. What’s the social media thing called that you guys do?

Amber Young:
It’s called the Socialthon.

Ryan Isaac:
The Socialthon. Yeah, it sounds cool.

Amber Young:
It’s all day. It is. It’s pretty awesome.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, so it’s like all day live streaming and people like awareness and something.

Amber Young:
All day live streaming, we have Dr. Zuckerberg, we have all of these great teams. Joe from Dental Whale came on Curve. Everybody comes together to either share how they are impacted by oral cancer, what their story was, how their screening. Just, it’s pretty awesome.

Ryan Isaac:
Thank you for being here.

Amber Young:
Absolutely.

Ryan Isaac:
I hope you have a good time. And you have a couple of more days here in Vegas?

Amber Young:
I am gonna go home tomorrow…

Ryan Isaac:
Tomorrow?

Amber Young:
So I might get out and do some fun stuff tonight.

Ryan Isaac:
One more, one more night.

[laughter]

Ryan Isaac:
One more night, and then some rest after this. Thank you for doing this and sharing your story.

Amber Young:
Oh my gosh. Thank you for having me Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah. This was, this was super cool. And I think we’ll do… We should do a webinar in the future.

Amber Young:
Oh, I’d love it.

Ryan Isaac:
Like right before, maybe like next March, before the… That would be super cool.

Amber Young:
Okay.

Ryan Isaac:
Thanks everyone for listening, this has been awesome. If you have any questions for us, you can go to dentistadvisors.com, click the book free consultation link. We’d love to chat with you. Thank you again. Have a wonderful time, and we will catch you next time on another episode of the Dentist Money Show. Take care now.

Amber Young:
What if you say we put all of the organization information in our show notes.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay. I will. Alright everybody. Thanks for listening. We will put all of the organization information in the show notes of the episode so you can click the links, you can donate, you can participate in the challenge, run a 5k, get on the Socialthon. Do it all. Check the links below. Thanks for listening. We’ll catch you on another episode of the Dentist Money Show. Take care now. Bye-Bye.

Practice Management

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