What can I expect during the exam?
Benign conditions of the oral cavity can often mimic precancerous or cancerous lesions. Oral cancer screenings should be performed at least once per year, and more often if you are at an elevated risk of developing oral cancer. Your doctor may perform a number of tests or exams to determine the cause of any symptoms that you are experiencing and to diagnose the disease. Typically, a visual screening is first conducted to identify any abnormal areas. Intraoral pictures are often taken to help document the appearance of the lesion on that specific date. A biopsy or tissue removal is usually the best way to determine a diagnosis, as the sample is sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis.
Oral cancer screenings allow us to identify trouble areas before they become a larger issue. During an oral cancer exam, your doctor will:
- Exam of the tongue and insides of your mouth to check for red or white patches or sores
- Feel the tissues of the mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities
- Order further testing on abnormalities that are found