An oral lesion is a break in the mouth tissue -- usually presenting as a bump, crack, erosion or noticeable spot -- that's not normally there. An ulcer is a type of lesion. If it's not normal, it's some sort of lesion.
Any oral lesion should be checked by Dr. Cioffi as soon as possible. While it's usually a minor issue that can be resolved promptly with proper treatment, it's always best to err on the side of caution. Dr. Cioffi can analyze the lesion quickly to determine whether immediate treatment is needed or whether it’ll resolve on its own.
Most oral lesions aren’t cancerous, but Dr. Cioffi conducts a thorough exam to make sure that all possibilities are considered. The most obvious indicator of oral cancer is lesions that don't heal. Many patients who have oral cancer also experience significant pain, and this pain may not be confined to just the mouth area. If you have persistent lesions that could be cancerous, Dr. Cioffi performs a biopsy. With early detection, treatment can begin as quickly as possible.
Many lesions can be present for a long time (years) in a precancerous state before progressing to cancer. Early detection and treatment is the key to a long-term cure.
The type of biopsy depends on the location of the lesion and the type.
An excisional biopsy can be performed on nearly any type of oral lesion. This type of biopsy removes the entire lesion, which is then tested for cancer. Excisional biopsies are a good option because they provide treatment (removal) and testing at one time step.
An incisional biopsy is often done for very large lesions or lesions that are very irregular that could be more challenging to remove. A small part of the lesion is removed and tested in this type of biopsy. Additional treatment is determined by the findings in the biopsy.
A brush biopsy is done by quickly swiping the surface of the lesion to get sample cells. This small sample is then tested for the presence of cancer cells.
A fine-needle biopsy may be used in cases where the lesion is in the jaw area. An ultra-thin needle is used to take a small tissue sample, which is then analyzed.
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