Oral Cancer Pathology

The inside of a healthy person’s mouth is lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any significant lesions or alterations in this appearance could be a sign of a pathological process or a cancerous growth. The most serious of these is oral cancer. Dr. Begley and Dr. Sheets strongly encourage patients and general dentists to regard these areas with urgency. The Center for Oral Surgery can perform a biopsy (removing a suspicious area of tissue) and send it to a lab for accurate diagnosis and proper evaluation giving the patient a more effective treatment that could restore their health and prevent extensive damage.
The following are common symptoms of oral cancers or pathological processes that patients should look for:
  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
  • Oral sores that bleed easily or fail to heal
  • A lump, crust, or thickening on the skin lining the insides of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
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These changes can 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 curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and /or oral pain, without an obvious cause or reason, may also be at risk for oral cancer.

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