For either of them, the doctor may first spray the back of your throat with numbing medicine to help make the exam easier. Indirect laryngoscopy and laryngoscopy: To do this, the doctor uses small mirrors on long, thin handles to look at your throat, the base of your tongue, and part of the larynx (voice box).
Direct (flexible) laryngoscopy and laryngoscopy: For this exam, the doctor puts a flexible fiber-optic scope (called an endoscope) in through your mouth or nose to look at areas that can ’t easily be seen with mirrors, such as the region behind the nose (hypopharynx) and the larynx (voice box), or to get a clearer look at areas of change that were seen with the mirrors. During a pan endoscopy, the doctor uses different types of endoscopes passed down the mouth or nose to do a laryngoscopy, esophagoscopy, and (at times) bronchoscopy.
This lets the doctor thoroughly examine the oral cavity, oropharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus (tube leading to the stomach), and the trachea (windpipe) and bronchi (breathing passageways in the lungs). This exam is usually done in an operating room while you are under general anesthesia (drugs that put you into a deep sleep).
A small piece of tissue from any tumors or other abnormal areas may be taken out (biopsied) to be looked at under a microscope to see if they contain cancer. In a biopsy, the doctor removes a small piece of tissue, called a sample, to be looked at under a microscope.
A sample of tissue or cells is always needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis before treatment is started. To do this, the doctor scrapes the changed area and smears the collected tissue onto a glass slide.
For this type of biopsy, the doctor cuts a small piece of tissue from the area that looks abnormal. The biopsy can be done either in the doctor’s office or in the operating room, depending on where the tumor is and how easy it is to get a good tissue sample.
For this test, the doctor uses a very thin, hollow needle attached to a syringe to pull out (aspirate) some cells from a tumor or lump. FNA biopsy is not used to sample abnormal areas in the mouth or throat, but it's sometimes used for a neck lump (mass) that can be felt or seen on a CT scan.
But even when the FNA results are benign, if symptoms suggest cancer, more tests (such as laryngoscopy and pan endoscopy) are needed. In some cases, the doctor may need to coat the cells with special stains to help tell what type of cancer it is.
This is a key part of staging (finding out the extent of the cancer) and is considered when making treatment decisions. Imaging tests use x -rays, magnetic fields, or radioactive substances to create pictures of the inside of your body.
Because it provides a very detailed picture, an MRI scan may be done to look for spread of the cancer in the neck. The picture is not finely detailed like a CT or MRI scan, but it provides helpful information about your whole body.
A barium swallow can be used to see the lining of the upper part of the digestive system, especially the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach). In this test, you drink a chalky liquid called barium which coats the walls of your throat and esophagus.
Other tests may be done as part of a work-up if a patient has been diagnosed with oral cavity or pharyngeal cancer. These tests are not used to diagnose the cancer, but they may be done for other reasons, such as to see if a person is healthy enough for treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Still, your doctor may order routine blood tests to get an idea of your overall health, especially before treatment. Blood tests may also suggest the cancer has spread to the liver or bone.
If radiation therapy will be used as part of the treatment, you'll be asked to see a dentist before starting. The dentist will help with preventive dental care and may remove teeth, if needed, before radiation treatment is started.
If the cancer is in your jaw or the roof of your mouth, a dentist with special training (called a prosthodontist) might be asked to evaluate you. This dentist can make replacements for missing teeth or other structures of the oral cavity to help restore your appearance; comfort; and ability to chew, swallow, and speak after treatment.
If part of the jaw or roof of the mouth (palate) will be removed with the tumor, the prosthodontist will work to ensure that the replacement artificial teeth and the remaining natural teeth fit together correctly. Fact: You can reduce your cancer -risk by 90% using the newest dental radiology, compared with older technology.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. When it comes time for x -rays at the dentist, the technician or hygienist always covers the patient with a lead apron before leaving the room.
Their results help determine the presence of abnormal growths, organ enlargement, bleeding, calcification, and many others. Their results help determine the presence of abnormal growths, organ enlargement, bleeding, calcification, and many others.
In dentistry, x -rays are used to help find and determine your mouth problems that are not visible during your physical oral exam. For instance, you may be complaining of tooth pain, but since your dentist does not see anything visible in the naked eye, or he wants to confirm something and would need additional imaging, dental x-rays are their go-to procedure.
Diagnosing oral cancer usually begins with a visit to your dentist or family doctor. Based on this information, your dentist or doctor will refer you to a specialist, such as a head and neck surgeon.
A head and neck surgeon is also called an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor or an otolaryngologies. It’s normal to worry, but try to remember that other health conditions can cause similar symptoms as oral cancer.
It’s important for the healthcare team to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a diagnosis of oral cancer. Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment.
During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissues or cells from the body, so they can be tested in a lab. A report from the pathologist will show whether cancer cells are found in the sample.
It is the most common type of biopsy used to sample the inner lining (mucosa) of the mouth. A special instrument is used to collect a biopsy sample from an ulcer or lesion.
Incisional biopsy removes a small piece of tissue from the abnormal area using a scalpel (knife). It allows a doctor to look inside the body using a flexible tube with a light and lens on the end.
Good nutrition is especially important for people who have cancer because it helps to ensure that you are healthy enough to have and recover from treatment. A dietitian will give you a nutritional assessment when you are diagnosed and during your treatment by looking at your body mass index (BMI), what you are eating and any weight changes.
It can also be used to see if cancer has spread to the lower jawbone or lymph nodes in the neck. Some surgeons routinely perform a CT scan of the neck and the chest before surgery.
An MRI is used to provide information about the size, shape and location of a tumor. A positron emission tomography (PET) scan uses radioactive materials called radio pharmaceuticals to look for changes in the metabolic activity of body tissues.
A computer analyzes the radioactive patterns and makes 3-D color images of the area being scanned. A PET scan is used to see if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.