The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any Washington, D.C. patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.

Recent Advances

An exciting development in the prevention of oral cancer is the use of the brush biopsy (OralCDx). This simple, accurate and highly advanced technology allows Dr. Emery to determine if a scalpel biopsy is necessary or not, saving you unnecessary discomfort and expense.

We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores.

Learn more about oral pathology by calling our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 386-7100.