Oral cancer is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This is why oral cancer exams are extremely important to be done.
Oral cancers can be different in histologic types such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma. It appears the most among affected individuals. This oral cancer type usually originates in lip and mouth tissues.
There are different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers occur, and these include:
- Salivary Glands
- Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
Reasons for oral cancer examinations
It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective and successful. If you have any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area, this should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible.
The following signs will be investigated during your oral cancer exam:
Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which don’t heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic changes.
Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. It can be cancerous or it can become cancerous if the treatment is not started.
Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can be a sign of pathological problems.
Elgin Oral Cancer Exams, Diagnosis and Treatment
The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process. During the visual part of the examination, your trusted Elgin dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps.
If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, your Elgin dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and a treatment plan. In the case that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion and will show if it is cancerous or not.
Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats. A dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year. This is the only way to get the treatment in time and to prevent any secondary threats to your overall health.