‘Grateful’ Woman Goes Back To Tell Dental Hygienist She Saved Her Life

A woman's dental appointment took an unexpected turn when the hygienist discovered a lump.

A month later, Kristen Lee shared the moment she returned to her dental office and told Nicole Aceto it was cancer.

Lee, 52, of Hartford, Conn., said Weekly newspaper: “I want to thank her for finding it and showing others that dental care is medical care and never skip a cleaning.”

The touching moment was shared on TikTok (@si_que_what) on May 20. Miss her all the time. As of this writing, the video has been viewed 1.7 million times.

Two screenshots from a viral video of dental hygienist Aceto learning about his diagnosis.

Christine Lee/TikTok/@si_que_what

In the caption, Lee noted, “She saved my life,” before explaining that she was first diagnosed in 2020 with B-cell lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells, called lymphocytes. She went into remission however and is now back.

“I knew about it early on because of Nicole,” Lee told Lee. “During a routine cleaning, she swept my mouth with her finger and discovered a lump on my lower gum line. She stopped cleaning and took me for a panoramic X-ray, which revealed a lump.”

Lee will undergo another round of chemotherapy on May 23.

Christine Lee

Lee explained that she went to see an oncologist in December 2023 because she thought there was something wrong with her jaw, but nothing was found. Her date with Aceto is in April.

she told Weekly newspaper: “It's weird, I can feel something bothering me, but I can't feel the lump.

“There was no numbness or tingling, no real symptoms other than I had a premonition and a slight sensation in my jaw.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma may include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
  • abdominal pain or swelling
  • persistent fatigue
  • fever
  • Night sweats

The importance of regular dental visits

Aceto emphasized Weekly newspaper The importance of regular dental checkups, pointing out that they include more than just “cleanings.”

She said: “Oral cancer screening and head and neck exams are crucial for early detection and, in Kristen's case, were crucial to her diagnosis. The dental visit includes a periodontal assessment to assess the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. health status.

“The dental team uses X-rays to help detect cavities, infections, and other abnormalities in the teeth. The goal of dental hygienists and dentists is to provide the care necessary to keep our patients healthy and to provide the education and tools to stay healthy In their daily lives, the mouth is often seen as a separate entity from the rest of the body, when in reality it is a window to the interior.

On May 16, after a biopsy and further tests, Li was diagnosed with cancer and will now begin chemotherapy. The size of her tumor was 5.6 cm.

The American Cancer Society estimates that by 2024, approximately 80,620 Americans will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, including 44,590 men and 36,030 women. This number includes adults and children.

Li told Weekly newspaper: “I'm so grateful to Nicole for validating what I was feeling in December. I knew something was wrong, but all the tests showed I was still fine.”

TikTok reaction

So far, the video has received more than 219,000 likes and more than 820 comments.

“You beat it once, you'll beat it again, especially since she caught it early!” one user said.

Another wrote: “I'm so sorry. I didn't know it could be detected in the mouth. This is completely 100% news to me.”

A third commenter said: “Ugh I wish more patients listened like you do. Most of the time they question why I do the extra [because] They just want cleanliness. Glad you caught it early and wish you good health.

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