Oral Pathology – Carmel Valley | Del Mar | San Diego
Oral Cancer Screening
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is moist, smooth, and pink in color. Alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs of the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Red and/or white patches in the mouth or other color changes.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
- Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving jaw or tongue.
- A painful spot or area that does note resolve within 2 weeks.
Changes may be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain or even numbness without an obvious cause or reason may be at risk for an oral pathologic condition.
Oral cancer occurs most often in those who use tobacco. Alcohol use in combination with smoking greatly increases the risk. Oral cancer can also occur in people who do not smoke or have other risk factors. Exposure to the sun increases the chance of lip cancer. Sun damaged lips should be carefully monitored for lip cancer.
We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Your general dentist and/or dental hygienist will typically screen you at your semi-annual exams. They may refer you to an oral & maxillofacial surgeon for further examination and evaluation. Any suspicious areas should be biopsied and submitted for oral microscopic examination for a definitive diagnosis. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Torrey Pines Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
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