oral cancer screening

Screening for oral cancer may be done during a routine check-up by a dentist or doctor. The exam will include looking for lesions, including areas of leukoplakia (an abnormal white patch of cells) and erythroplakia (an abnormal red patch of cells). Leukoplakia and erythroplakia lesions on the mucous membranes may become cancerous. Higher-risk areas of the mouth that are checked for cancer include the following:

 

  • Floor of the mouth.

  • Front and sides of the tongue.

  • Soft palate.

If lesions are seen in the mouth, the following procedures may be used to find abnormal tissue that might develop into oral cancer:

  • Toluidine blue stain: A procedure in which lesions in the mouth are coated with a blue dye. Areas that stain darker are more likely to be cancer or become cancer.

  • Fluorescence staining: A procedure in which lesions in the mouth are viewed using a special light. After the patient uses a fluorescent mouth rinse, normal tissue looks different from abnormal tissue when seen under the light.

  • Exfoliative cytology : A procedure to collect cells from the lip or oral cavity . A piece of cotton, a brush, or a small wooden stick is used to gently scrape cells from the lips, tongue, mouth, or throat . The cells are viewed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal.

  • Brush biopsy : The removal of cells using a brush that is designed to collect cells from all layers of a lesion. The cells are viewed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal.

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