Oral Cancer Exam
According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 7,000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can usually be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process, which has early symptoms making it hard to recognize without an examination. There are many types of oral cancer. The most common form of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates on the lip and sides of the tongue. There are many other places in which oral cancers occur, including: the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face.
What to Expect
An oral cancer examination is painless. Our team will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Some of the signs that will be investigated are red patches and sores. Red patches on the floor of the mouth, or the front of the tongue, and bleeding sores which fail to heal easily, can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and may be cancerous. Signs of these will be examined as well. Finally, soreness, lumps, or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathologic signs, and will be examined.
It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption.