Any changes in the appearance of the inside of your mouth, including the gums, tongue, and cheeks, can be a warning sign of oral cancer or disease. If you manifest one or more of these symptoms during your visit with Dr. William Schiro at Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery and Implant Center, he might recommend a biopsy. This quick in-office procedure, when combined with X-rays, determines whether you’re at risk for or have oral cancer. Learn more about biopsies and oral pathology by calling the friendly team at Dr. Schiro’s office in Lansing, Michigan, or St. Johns, Michigan.
What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is the surgical removal of suspect tissue for further examination and to determine the presence of oral cancer. Dr. Schiro might perform a biopsy if he finds precancerous growths in your mouth or you report significant changes in the appearance of your tongue, inner cheeks, or other soft tissues.
Dr. Schiro conveniently performs most biopsies in his office with local anesthesia. Then, he sends the tissue off a pathology laboratory for further examination.
What are the signs I might need a biopsy?
Pain is not always present with oral cancer, but certain warning signs of this disease are easily detected in the early stages. You can perform a self-examination of the inside of the mouth to check for lumps, bumps, cysts, or strange growths. You should also check for enlarged lymph nodes on the sides of your neck and under your lower jaw.
Other commons signs of oral cancer that might indicate to Dr. Schiro you require a biopsy include:
- Reddish or white patches in the mouth
- Mouth sores that bleed easily or never heal
- Lumps or thickening of the lining inside the mouth
- Chronic sore throats
- Hoarseness that doesn’t go away
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
What can I expect with a biopsy?
Once Dr. Schiro discovers an abnormality, he performs a biopsy by using local anesthesia in his office. Next, he surgically removes some or all of the suspect tissue. Finally, he provides you with aftercare instructions to help ensure your fast recovery and always takes the time to answer any questions you or your family member has.
After your visit, Dr. Schiro sends the tissue sample to the pathology lab. When he gets the results, he might request you get a CT scan or MRI for further review.
Should the diagnosis be oral cancer, Dr. Schiro provides this information to you and your family in a compassionate, caring, and patient manner. He gives you all the resources and information you need about oral cancer, so you and he can move forward with planning the best courses of treatment.
Am I at risk for oral cancer?
Certain factors increase your risk of oral cancer. Some of the known risk factors for oral cancer, include:
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars
- Using smokeless tobacco products
- Being a male over the age of 40
Dr. Schiro recommends you don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores in the mouth and quit using tobacco products as soon as possible. Regular self-examinations can help detect cancerous growths outside of your oral checkups. If you have questions about oral cancer or biopsies, call the friendly staff at Michigan Maxillofacial Surgery.