Oral Cancer Exam

According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided by Dr. Suttle or Dr. Pierce. 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, and can originate in several places, including the lips, mucosa (lining of the mouth), the tongue, salivary glands, the throat, and gums.

What to Expect

The oral cancer examination is completely painless. We will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Special lights may be used to highlight pathologic changes, and can look below the surface for spots and legions almost 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 which fail to heal easier, can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and may 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. Suttle or Dr. Pierce will implement a treatment plan that is right for you.

It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking or other tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Dr. Suttle or Dr. Pierce can provide you with literature and options about quitting dangerous behaviors such as tobacco use.