Miami Dentist

Oral CancerMiami, FL

Oral cancer is any malignant tissue growth situated in the oral cavity. Oral cancer is considered a type of head and neck cancer arising either as a primary lesion of the oral tissue or as a metastatic growth originating from a distant site.

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    Oral cancer is most commonly associated with the tongue but can be located on the:

  • Gums (gingival)
  • Floor of the mouth
  • Lips
  • Roof of the mouth (palate)
  • Inside of the cheek

  • What does oral cancer look like?

    A normal traumatic or irritated lesion in the mouth, or on the skin, should heal within fourteen days. Dr. Rita may recommend further evaluation, and testing should the lesion worsen in appearance or persist for longer than fourteen days. With the aid of VELscope technology and visual screening, a baseline diagnosis is possible when the lesion is first evaluated. This initial observation is then compared with how the lesion changes over time.

    A suspicious lesion or condition may possess the following attributes:

  • May be located behind the ear
  • When advanced, the lesion may burn or feel painful
  • It is usually painless in the beginning
  • Typically small in size
  • It may appear pale, red, or discolored
  • It may appear as a white or red patch
  • Altered sensation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty with how the tongue feels or functions
  • Sores in the mouth
  • What Causes Oral Cancer?

    Although a lesser incidence of mouth cancer is related to genetic mutations, the majority of malignancies are linked to alterable behaviors or other factors.

    Some of these include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Chronic irritation to the oral tissues
  • Poor nutrition
  • Chronic infections of bacterial or viral origin (Human Papilloma Virus)
  • Older men are at a greater risk than women for developing oral cancer.

  • How is oral cancer diagnosed

    Dr. Rita, as part of the initial oral comprehensive examination and all subsequent periodic evaluations, will visually examine the mouth and use technological aids such as VELscope or Vizilite, to locate and assess visible and palpable lesions of the lip, tongue, and other mouth tissues.

    Suspect lesions will be referred to a Smile Panel oral surgeon for further testing and diagnoses. The only definitive method for diagnosing a cancerous lesion is a biopsy and microscopic evaluation of the cells in the tissue sample.

    How is oral cancer treated?

    Once the suspect lesion has been diagnosed as a malignancy, a specific treatment plan will be determined.

    Usually, the malignant tumor is removed surgically if it is small enough to render a successful result. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments are often used in association with surgery when applicable. When inoperable, the tumor is treated solely with either radiation or chemotherapy.

    Oral cancer can be found at early stages through regular, simple and pain-free examinations. Dr. Rita invites you to commit to periodic oral evaluations every six to twelve months. They can help save your life!