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Dentist Gilbert  AZ Oral Cancer Examination


Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States, with fatality rate of one person per hour every day. Half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years.


Tobacco use, a weak immune system, a history of cancer, frequent alcohol consumption or the presence of Human Papillion Virus; all increase the risk of contracting oral cancer.


Oral cancer usually begins as an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be noticeable. This makes the oral cancer examinations performed important. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma which most commonly effects lip and mouth tissues.


There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including: the mouth, lips, salivary glands, throat, gums and face.


Reasons for oral cancer examinations


When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective. Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area, or a sore that does not go away within two weeks should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible. During the oral cancer exam, the maxillofacial and oral regions will be visualized and palpated for signs of Pathology.


The following signs will be investigated during the oral examination:


  • Red patches – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the tip and sides of the tongue, white patches which fail to heal and sores that bleed easily can be indicative of cancerous pathologic changes.

  • Leukoplakia – This is a white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous, or may become cancerous if not treated accordingly.

  • Lumps – lumps sore to touch, or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal possible cancerous lesions.


Oral cancer exams, diagnosis and treatment


The oral cancer examination is a painless process which the Dentist will look for abnormality and examines the face, glands and neck for unusual lesions.


If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, a referral to a oral pathologist or specialist will be made for further evaluation and initiation of a biopsy of the area. The biopsy is a clinical evaluation which will identify the stage and grade of the lesion which will dictate the needed treatment.


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