Fortunately the mouth is a region that is easily examined and where changes can often be observed early. That means that oral cancers may be diagnosed early .As with all cancer, early and accurate diagnosis means a greater range of treatment options and the likelihood of greatly improved outcomes.
Oral cancers, like all cancers, are complex. There is a body of research to suggest that use of tobacco or excessive alcohol may contribute to oral cancers. There is some literature to suggest that poor oral hygiene, bad nutrition, some chronic infections or combinations of all of these might also contribute to the onset of an oral cancer.
People at especially high risk are those over 40 with a history of smoking, chewing tobacco or excessive drinking.
For early detection you can help by performing a monthly self examination of your palate, lips, gums and the inner cheeks for white patches (leukoplakia), red patches (erythropakia) or red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia). Other things to watch for are sores that fail to heal or that bleed easily, abnormal lumps of the mouth tissue, chronic sore throat, persistent difficulty chewing or swallowing or a mass or lump in the neck.
If you have any of these signs consult an OMF surgeon or see your dentist.
To confirm a diagnosis an OMF will perform a full examination and, if needed, a biopsy. Once a diagnosis is obtained, he/she may elect to treat you or will refer you to another specialist.
The biopsy results will help to determine an appropriate and effective treatment course.
The surgical and medical expertise of an OMF surgeon will help you receive a thorough diagnosis and proper treatment.