The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is a special type of skin that should appear smooth in texture and pink in color. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa (lesion) may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth (e.g., gums, tongue, lips, etc.). The most serious of these pathologic changes (which may or may not be painful) is oral cancer. The following can be signs of a suspicious pathologic process such as oral cancer:
- Red patches or white patches or a combination red/white patch in the mouth
- An ulcer or lesion that has persisted for 2 weeks or longer
- A lump or mass that is growing rapidly
- An area that bleeds easily when touched
- A lump or mass that feels “fixed” or does not move easily
- Difficulty in swallowing or hoarseness
Depending on the history, clinical and possibly radiographic exam, your doctor will determine if there are cell changes present, the doctor will take a biopsy of the affected area and send it away to be analyzed by laboratory specialists. When definitive results are obtained, the course of treatment can be determined.
If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.