Oral Cancer Exam

According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, 7,000 of which were fatal. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided by one of our dentists at David & Associates. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.

TYPES OF ORAL CANCER

Oral cancer is a pathologic process, which begins by producing no symptoms making it hard to recognize without an exam. There are many types of oral cancer, including teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common form of oral cancer is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates in the lip and mouth tissue. There are many other places in which oral cancers occur, including: the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face.

Over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption.

WHAT TO EXPECT

A painless and thorough examination

The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Drs. David, Philips, Noorthoek, Ouellette or Burbank will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers may be used to highlight pathologic changes, and can “look” below the surface for spots and lesions invisible to the naked eye. 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 easier, 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.