About Oral Pathology
Oral cancer is a serious condition that affects the lives of about 50,000 Americans each year. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to a patient’s long-term prognosis, oral health, and quality of living. Board-certified oral surgeons Dr. Edward Delgado and Dr. Michael Kuzmik recommend that all patients receive annual oral cancer screenings from their general dentist or an oral surgery specialist and conduct self-oral cancer screenings on a monthly basis. Any abnormalities in the tissue, such as red or white patches, raised areas, lumps, or sores that do not heal, should be evaluated promptly. Dr. Delgado and Dr. Kuzmik are highly skilled and experienced in diagnosing and treating oral pathologies. Our surgical team performs biopsies and oral pathology treatment from the comfort of our state-of-the-art Virginia practices. Contact our team for an oral cancer evaluation right away if you notice any bumps, sores, abnormalities, or changes in or around your mouth.
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Precancerous and cancerous lesions can develop anywhere in or around the mouth, including the tongue, cheeks, gums, lips, the floor of the mouth, throat, and soft and hard palates. Lifestyle habits and a number of other factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing oral cancer, including:
- Sun exposure
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol consumption
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Poor oral hygiene
- Diminished general health
To ensure the best possible prognosis, any tissues in or around the mouth that look different or have changed should be examined as soon as possible. This includes lesions, cysts, lumps, or other areas that have been present in the mouth for an extended period of time.
Not all suspicious lesions are diagnosed as being oral cancer. However, any abnormal or irregular signs or symptoms that occur in or around your mouth should be assessed by one of our oral surgical specialists or your general dentist. It is important to schedule an oral cancer screening promptly if you have lesions in your mouth that bleed easily, sores that are not healing, bumps or raised areas, white or red patches, or a mass or nodule in the throat area. Other concerns that should be evaluated include chronic hoarseness or sore throat and trouble with swallowing or chewing properly. Oral pain is not always a symptom of oral cancer, but should always be checked to determine the cause.
As board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Dr. Delgado and Dr. Kuzmik have advanced skill and expertise in treating patients with oral cancer. If our team detects abnormal or suspicious areas in your mouth during your oral cancer screening, we may take advanced digital scans of your head and neck and perform a biopsy of the area. Before beginning your biopsy, our doctors will numb the site with local anesthesia to ensure your comfort. We will then excise a small amount of the lesion and send it to a pathology lab to be examined on a cellular level. If precancer or cancer cells are detected in the tissue sample, Dr. Delgado or Dr. Kuzmik will review the findings with you and review your options for treating your condition. In most cases, precancerous, cancerous, and some tissue abnormalities are removed through surgical procedures or other treatment methods.
Once your biopsy or oral pathology treatment is complete, our surgical team will provide detailed post-op instructions on how to care for the area during the healing phase. A follow-up visit with Dr. Delgado or Dr. Kuzmik will also be scheduled so that we can check your progress as you heal. Regardless of the diagnosis, it is still important to continue visiting your dentist for routine care and performing self-oral cancer screenings on a monthly basis. Depending on your specific condition, our doctors may recommend that you have oral cancer screenings more frequently in the few years immediately following your oral pathology diagnosis.
Catch It Early
Any unusual area in or around your mouth may be a sign of something more sinister. Even if you have bumps or lesions that have been present for a long period of time, it is important to have these areas evaluated by your dentist or an oral surgeon. Early precancer and oral cancer diagnoses offer the best possible outcome for a positive long-term prognosis. If you are at an increased risk for oral cancer or have noticed changes in your oral tissue, contact one of our Virginia surgical practices today to schedule a visit with Dr. Delgado or Dr. Kuzmik.