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 (erythroplakia) 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 patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer. Performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly is essential to early diagnosis. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores.
Dr. Lee routinely performs head, neck, oral, and body skin biopsies. If a mole or a lesion on the skin (epidermis) is found to be suspicious on examination, it will be sent to a Pathologist that will provide accurate, clear, and prompt diagnosis. Definitive treatment will depend upon the microscopic diagnosis.
Performing self-examination monthly is essential to early diagnosis of skin cancer. Do not ignore suspicious lesions, rough or scaly skin bumps, or irregularity in freckles or moles, on the face, ears, lips, neck, trunk, arms legs, and hands. These lesions can signal the onset of a skin cancer and should be treated immediately.