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Biopsies and Tumor Removal

While an annual screening for oral cancer is important, it is possible that you will notice some change in your mouth or throat that needs examination between your annual screenings.

You are the most important factor in an early diagnosis. You should always contact your doctor or dentist immediately if you notice the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one:

  • A sore or lesion in the mouth that does not heal within two weeks.
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek.
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth.
  • A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of the mouth.
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable.
  • Chronic hoarseness.

In the event that at lesion is discovered the general dentist will most likely refer the patient to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. A sample of tissue is removed and sent to a pathologist who examines the tissue under a microscope to check for abnormal or malignant cells. If it is determined that the lesion must be removed the oral surgeon works closely with the dentist or doctor and removes the tumor.