Oral Cancer Exam

According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 7000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with a cancer exam provided by Dr. Bloch. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.

Oral cancer is a pathologic process which is hard to detect without a professional exam.  It may be completely free of symptoms in its early stages. There are many types of oral cancer, including teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common form of oral cancer is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates in the lip and mouth tissue. There are many other places in which oral cancers occur, including: the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face.

What to Expect at an Oral Cancer Exam

The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Dr. Bloch 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 legions invisible to the naked eye. Some of the signs that will be investigated are changes in normal coloration and sores which do not heal.

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. Finally, soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathology.

If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Dr. Bloch may recommend a biopsy to diagnose your condition.  Referral to other dental or medical specialists may also be appropriate for your case.

Oral Cancer Prevention

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. Dr. Bloch can provide you with literature and options about controlling dangerous behaviors.