The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Your doctor 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 that fail to heal easier can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, a slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and maybe 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, your doctor will implement a treatment plan, most likely starting with a biopsy, that is right for you. Treatment options vary according to the precise diagnosis but may include: excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
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. Your doctor at the Ueno Center can provide you with literature and options about quitting dangerous behaviors such as tobacco use.