How Your Oral Surgeon Can Help When You Have Suspected Oral Cancer

Posted on 5/27/2017 by Tessa Smith-Greisch
A woman suffering from oral cancer causing her pain.
Every year, oral cancer affects over 40,000 Americans. It is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with only just about half of those diagnosed surviving past 5 years.

However, caught and treated early, you greatly increase your chances of successful treatment. With the help of an oral biopsy, your oral surgeon can properly diagnose oral cancer, and help you to get the treatment you need.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, can affect any area in or around your mouth. This includes your lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, roof or floor of the mouth and even the entrance to the throat.

While your dentist does a screening during your regular checkups, there are warning signs that you can be on the lookout for at home.

Symptoms include:

•  Sores in your mouth that don't seem to heal, especially after two weeks.
•  Red or white lesions.
•  Growths in your mouth.
•  A change in your bite.
•  Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking.
•  Loose teeth.
•  Bleeding.
•  A feeling of a lump in your throat.
•  Numbness in the jaw or lips.
•  Constant earaches

Types of Biopsy

If your dentist notices anything unusual in your mouth, you will be referred to an oral surgeon for an oral biopsy. A biopsy is performed to confirm or rule out oral cancer. There are a few different types of biopsies:

•  Incisional, or diagnostic, used for large lesions.
•  Excisional, used for smaller lesions, which can also be used to simply remove the whole lesion.
•  Frozen sectional biopsy. This biopsy involves freezing the sample and then cutting it into segments for staining and examination.
•  Punch biopsy. A special tool removes a section of the lesion, as well as many layers, and is often used for lesions found toward the back of the mouth.
•  Brush biopsy. A brush scrapes cells off of the lesion.

Procedure
An oral biopsy is a painless procedure, only requiring the use of a local anesthetic (except for the brush biopsy, which requires none). A section of the suspect lesion is removed to be examined under a microscope. Wounds are then stitched closed. The procedure takes less than an hour, and it only takes a couple of days to get results. Should oral cancer be confirmed, a treatment plan can begin right away.

With early detection, your chances of a successful treatment for oral cancer greatly improve. If you notice anything off about your mouth, be sure to contact our office right away.



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