Oral Cancer (cont.)
In this Article
- What is the oral cavity?
- What is cancer?
- Who's at risk for oral cancer?
- What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
- How is oral cancer diagnosed?
- How is oral cancer treated?
- Methods of treatment
- What are the side effects of treatment for oral cancer?
- What is rehabilitation for oral cancer?
- What happens after treatment for oral cancer?
- What does the future hold for patients with oral cancer?
- What resources are available to patients with oral cancer?
- Oral Cancer At A Glance
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
Diagnosis of oral cancer
If you have symptoms that suggest oral cancer, the doctor or dentist checks your mouth and throat for red or white patches, lumps, swelling, or other problems. This exam includes looking carefully at the roof of the mouth, back of the throat, and insides of the cheeks and lips. The doctor or dentist also gently pulls out your tongue so it can be checked on the sides and underneath. The floor of your mouth and lymph nodes in your neck also are checked.
If an exam shows an abnormal area, a small sample of tissue may be removed. Removing tissue to look for cancer cells is called a biopsy. Usually, a biopsy is done with local anesthesia. Sometimes, it is done under general anesthesia. A pathologist then looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if the abnormal area is cancerous.
If you need a biopsy, you may want to ask the doctor or dentist some of the following questions:
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