Turn to specialists in the detection of oral cancers for accurate diagnostics that support prompt treatment

Dental professionals are on the front lines of detecting oral cancers in their earliest stages when they are easiest to treat. General dentists often turn to oral and maxillofacial surgeons like Dr. Bryan McLelland,  and Dr. Brenen Olsen when abnormalities are detected that warrant further investigation. Our specialists at Liberty Oral & Facial Surgery in Spokane Valley, Washington, and Post Falls, Idaho, diagnose any deviations from the norm detected in the mouth and on the neck and head. These deviations include cysts, pre-cancerous lesions, and benign (non-cancerous) and malignant tumors. 

A biopsy or sample of the affected tissue may be collected and analyzed to rule out conditions and to make an accurate diagnosis that informs the development of immediate and effective treatment plans. 

The power of early detection 

It is vital that all patients maintain regular oral cancer screenings. More frequent screenings may be necessary if you have risk factors for these cancers, including smoking, vaping, and the use of tobacco products. Symptoms or anomalies that may warrant a biopsy include: 

  • White patches
  • Red patches
  • Persistent sores
  • Thickened tissue
  • Lumps
  • Bumps

Some behaviors and functional changes can also indicate mouth cancers, including chronic sore throat, hoarseness, and problems swallowing. As with other types of cancers, it is critical to identify oral tumors early into the disease process and promptly treat them. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports that the 5-year survival rates of oral and oropharyngeal cancers of the mouth, throat, nose, voice box, trachea, and esophagus are 84% when treated before cancer has spread. Survival rates fall dramatically after the cancer has metastasized to the lymph nodes and distant organs, to 66% and 39%, respectively. 

Biopsy process

Performing a biopsy is relatively straightforward; one of our skilled surgeons applies a localized anesthetic to numb the affected area. This step assures utmost comfort. For patients nervous about the procedure, we may discuss sedative options to help them relax. A small amount of tissue from the suspicious site is gently removed. Then, the tissue is examined under a microscope. We will discuss what we find during this examination with the patient and recommend the following steps to resolve the condition at hand. We won’t know the most appropriate treatment option until we understand the true nature or cause of your symptoms.

Please do not wait for alarming symptoms to present themselves before you reach out to us. We encourage you to contact the “first choice” in oral and maxillofacial expertise in the Inland Northwest, Liberty Oral & Facial Surgery, Post Falls practice at (208) 264-4665 or our Spokane Valley practice at (509) 822-2774 to schedule an appointment.