Diagnosis of Oral Cancer

Diagnosis of oral cancer involves the tests used to evaluate whether cancer cells are present in oral cavity or not. Here are the tests involved in the diagnosis of oral cancer.

  • Chemiluminescent light
  • Staining test
  • Biopsy
  • CT Scan
  • PET scan
  • MRI Scan
  • Dental X-rays
  • Endoscopy

1. Chemiluminescent light
Dentists use chemiluminescent light to diagnose oral cancer. In this method, this special light is passed on to the mouth. This light shows the healthy tissue in dark color and the cancer or abnormal cells in white color.

2. Staining test
In this technique, a blue color dye is applied on the area where cancer is suspected. Then rinse your mouth with vinegar solution. Cancer cells takes up the dye and appear in blue color. Normal cells wash up the dye with vinegar. The blue color area is send for biopsy to confirm the cancer.

3. Biopsy
Biopsy is a diagnosis test of oral cancer involves the taking the samples of suspicious tissue and examine under microscopes. In this method, doctor gives local anesthesia and cuts a small piece of tissue and send to the laboratory. There are different techniques of biopsy.

  • Oral Brush Biopsy
  • Incisional Biopsy
  • Fine Needle biopsy.

Oral brush biopsy is a advanced method of biopsy. In this a small bristle brush rotated on the area causing abrasion. Then the cells are collected and send to the laboratory. It is a painless technique and anesthesia is not required.

Incisional biopsy is a traditional method of biopsy where anesthesia is given on the area and tissue is cut into small round piece and removed from the area and send to the area. It causes discomfort for short period.

Fine needle biopsy is used to diagnose suspicious cancer tumor on neck. In this technique, a fine needle is inserted on the area and cells are collected and observed under microscope. It does not require anesthesia but in some cases local anesthesia is required.

4. CT scan
Computer Tomography uses X-ray machine attached to the computer. A large ring like device is moved on to the oral cavity. This takes the three dimensional pictures of oral cavity. Then computer gives a detailed picture to show any tumors present. Some times special dye is used in mouth to give better results. It measures the size of tumor. It also helps doctor to decide whether it can has spread to other oral cavity or it can be removed by surgery.

5. PET scan
It is a positron Emission Tomography. In this technique, doctor ask you to swallow liquid glucose containing radio active atom. Cancer cells absorbs more than the normal cells. Then images are taken by using positive emission tomography.

6. MRI scan
It is a magnetic resonance imaging scanning technique. This technique uses radio waves and magnetic fields and takes the images of oral cavity. This is also similar to CT scan. It detects tumors and biopsy is required to confirm the cancer.

7. Dental X-rays
Dental X-rays does not confirm cancer. It gives the images of both the upper and lower jaws and detects the presence of tumors but not confirms the cancer. It requires additional biopsy to confirm oral cancer.

8. Endoscopy
Endoscopy uses a tube inserted into mouth. It consist of a light and lens attached to the one end of the tube. It shows whether tumor has spread to the the throat and lymph nodes. It also has a tool to remove tissue from the suspicious area and send to the laboratory for examination. In this technique, topical anesthesia is given to prevent patient discomfort.

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