Oral cancer is a rare, but serious disease. Many people diagnosed with the disease face a poor prognosis – not because the cancer is harder to treat, but because it often goes undetected until it has reached advanced stages. When detected early, outcomes improve dramatically. Pathologic screenings are available to quickly confirm a diagnosis of oral cancer. Based on the diagnosis and stage of cancer, an oral surgeon can treat oral cancer in Hoboken using operations that remove tumors and reconstruct the mouth in areas affected by cancer. Additional treatments, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and drug therapy may be necessary to treat oral cancer.
Did you know…
that the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends that everyone – regardless of risk factor – perform a self-examination for oral cancer every month? It only takes minutes, but could save your life. To start, take off removable appliances and restorations, such as dentures and retainers. Using a bright light and a mirror, inspect all surfaces of the mouth, including the roof, floor, cheek walls, tongue, and the gums. Then, use your finger to inspect all surfaces for lumps or swollen lymph nodes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an oral pathology screening?
You may need to see your oral surgeon about pathological testing if the results of your self-exam have revealed lumps, masses, or unusual red or white patches in your mouth. You should also see your surgeon if you have any mouth sores that have failed to heal or if the tissues of your mouth have thickened. Chronic sore throat or difficulty swallowing may also be a sign of oral cancer.
Keep in mind that there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing oral cancer. They include using tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and even simple poor hygiene. The human papilloma virus has also been associated with oral cancer development, as has age and infectious disease.
What should I expect during an oral pathology test?
If a self-exam or an oral cancer screening at your oral surgeon’s office reveals abnormal mouth tissues, your oral surgeon may wish to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, your mouth will be numbed and a small section of the affected tissue removed. The sample tissue will be sent to a pathology laboratory for examination. If cancer or pre-cancerous cells are found, your surgeon will discuss your options for treatment.
Will I need to follow any special instructions following an oral pathology procedure?
After a biopsy, your surgeon will suture your wound shut. It is normal to experience some minor bleeding and swelling after the procedure. Apply ice to help minimize swelling, and bite down on a moistened tea bag to help control bleeding. Be sure to consume plenty of liquids without the use of a straw, and take all medications (if applicable) exactly as prescribed. You’ll also be instructed to avoid smoking for the first couple of days after your biopsy.