Diagnosis of mouth cancer
Your dentist might spot the early signs of mouth cancer during a routine check-up.
If you see your dentist with symptoms of mouth cancer, they’ll ask you some questions about your symptoms and your medical history. They may ask to examine your mouth, as well as feel your neck and face to check for swellings.
If your dentist thinks your symptoms could be due to mouth cancer, they will refer you to a doctor specialising in mouth cancer.
The specialist may want to take a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) from the affected area. This will be sent to a lab for testing to check if there are any cancerous cells. If the affected area is in a place they can access easily, they may just give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area and gently remove a small piece of tissue.
Sometimes, your doctor may need to use a special instrument called a nasoendoscope or laryngoscope to look at the affected area and take a biopsy. These are narrow, flexible tubes that can be passed up your nose and into your throat.