Oral Cancer Exam
According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 7000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided by Dr. Daneshvar. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.
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. This aggressive cancer could be detected during a comprehensive oral cancer exam, the earlier it could be diagnosed the higher chances of survival.
What to Expect from an Oral Cancer Examination
The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Dr. Daneshvar 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. White or red patches in the mouth (on the floor of the mouth, or the front of the tongue etc), and bleeding sores which fail to heal in 10-14 days, can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a white plaque that can appear inside the mouth, and could 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. If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Dr. Daneshvar will implement a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment options vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include: excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy (Team work with oral surgeons, ENT specialist and oncologist).
It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviours such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Dr. Daneshvar can provide you with literature and options about quitting dangerous behaviours such as tobacco use.
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal within 10-14 days and/or bleeds easily
- An extraction site that does not heal properly (Shown in the picture)
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Please do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we can assist you with any questions or concerns.
Have Further Questions?
Call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.