Oral Cancer Exam
Oral cancer is a pathologic process, which begins by producing no symptoms making it hard to recognize without an exam. The most common form of oral cancer is 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 from an Oral Cancer Exam
The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Dr. Herriges will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Some of the signs that will be investigated are red patches and sores. Red patches on the floor of the mouth, or the sides of the tongue, and bleeding sores which fail to heal, can be indicative of pre-cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and may be pre-cancerous. Finally, soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the mouth can signal pathologic signs, and will be examined.
If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Dr. Herriges will implement a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment options vary, but may include biopsy or referral to an oral surgeon.
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.