Oral Cancer Screening
As a part of every examination performed by Dr. Gould, you will receive a detailed oral cancer screening. This includes a thorough extra-oral head and neck examination as well as an intra-oral examination. The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any 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 at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- 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 or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gums, tongue, face, or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial or oral pain without an obvious cause may also be at risk for oral cancer. We recommend performing a self-examination for oral cancer every few months and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.