In many cases, a dentist may detect suspicious precancerous lesions or sores at a routine cleaning and exam. But an oral exam will only determine whether sores are present, not whether the lesions are cancerous. A definitive diagnosis requires a biopsy, which extracts abnormal cells and tests them for cancer.
How is tongue cancer diagnosed?
Tongue cancer usually requires a biopsy, a small sample of tissue that is removed from a tumor to diagnose cancer. After the surgeon removes the tissue, a pathologist will examine the cells under a microscope. There are different methods to obtain a biopsy: Fine needle aspiration biopsy.
What does tongue cancer look like in the early stages?
The most common early symptom of tongue cancer is a sore on your tongue that doesn’t heal and that bleeds easily. You might also notice mouth or tongue pain. Other symptoms of tongue cancer include: a red or white patch on your tongue that persists.
How do you check for tongue cancer at home?
Pull your checks out to view the inside of your mouth, the lining of your cheeks, and the back gums. Pull out your tongue and look at all surfaces; examine the floor of your mouth. Look at the back of your throat. Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of your neck and under your lower jaw.
What can be mistaken for tongue cancer?
How Misdiagnosis of Tongue Cancer Often Becomes a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit? Tongue cancer is frequently misdiagnosed, particularly in its early stages. This is partly because the early symptoms of tongue cancer are frequently mistaken for other more common conditions including oral herpes and dental abscess.
Who should I see if I think I have tongue cancer?
Complete head and neck exam
If there is a reason to think you might have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a specialist. These specialists are oral and maxillofacial surgeons or head and neck surgeons. They are also known as ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors or otolaryngologists.
Does tongue cancer grow fast?
Most oral cancers are a type called squamous cell carcinoma. These cancers tend to spread quickly. Smoking and other tobacco use are linked to most cases of oral cancer. Heavy alcohol use also increases the risk for oral cancer.
Does tongue cancer look like thrush?
White or red patches in the mouth can indicate oral cancer, but it is important to check for other reasons, as well. For instance, a persistent white coating on the tongue may indicate thrush, which is easily treatable with antifungals from your doctor.
Does oral cancer on tongue hurt?
Some of the first signs of tongue cancer often include a painful lump or sore on the side of the tongue that may bleed easily and resist healing. Mouth or tongue pain is also a common symptom.
What are the warning signs of oral cancer?
Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:
- A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal.
- A white or reddish patch on the inside of your mouth.
- Loose teeth.
- A growth or lump inside your mouth.
- Mouth pain.
- Ear pain.
- Difficult or painful swallowing.