Oral pathology is the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in and around the mouth. It includes cancer growth along the tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums and the floor of the mouth.
When a biopsy confirms an oral cancer diagnosis, an oral surgeon will discuss treatment options and recommendations with the patient. In many cases, surgery may be necessary to remove affected tissues, reconstruct facial features, and restore function to the mouth.
Did you know that early diagnosis of oral cancer can drastically improve long term prognosis and treatment outcomes?
Since oral cancer causes little or no symptoms in its earliest stages, regular oral health exams play an important role in identifying signs of the disease as soon as possible. In addition, everyone – including those who have never smoked or abused alcohol – should conduct regular at-home self-exams for signs of lumps, lesions or white patches in the mouth between dental checkups.
More than 45,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year – many of them right here and the surrounding area. Historically, it has been most common in people over age 40, though people under age 40 represent the fastest-growing population developing the disease.
Anyone can develop oral cancer. However, some people are at higher risk of developing the disease than others. For example, heavy drinking and tobacco use have been linked to the disease. Another culprit, the human papilloma virus (HPV), is increasingly responsible for oral cancers – especially in young individuals.
When oral surgeons are involved in pathological treatment, it usually means that a tumor or lesion needs to be removed, as well as any other tissues or lymph nodes that may be affected by a cancer. Oral surgery often removes much of the cancer, though additional treatments like radiation and chemotherapy may also be necessary depending on the stage of the disease.