Oral Cancer Exam in San Jose, CA

Are you looking for Oral Cancer Exam in San Jose, CA? Dr Rana Baroudi provides high quality dental care for her patients in San Jose, CA

Oral cancer is easy for a dentist to diagnose and can be effectively treated when caught in its earliest stage. In order to catch cancer early on, it’s extremely important to visit the dentist for a checkup every six months.

Oral cancer is a pathologic process that starts with an asymptomatic stage. During the asymptomatic stage, cancer signs may not be very apparent. This is why oral health examinations are so important. There are different histologic types of oral cancer, which include teratoma, melanoma, and adenocarcinoma.

There are many places in the maxillofacial and oral cavity region where oral cancers commonly occur. These include: 

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Mouth
  • Gums
  • Salivary Glands
  • Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
  • Face

Reasons for Oral Cancer Examinations

Many cases of oral cancers are linked to behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and tobacco use. Dr. Rana Baroudi is able to provide you with education on stopping smoking and making the lifestyle changes you should make to reduce your risk of oral cancer.

When oral cancer is diagnosed early on, treatment can be very effective. If you notice any abnormalities in your mouth, tongue, gums, or the surrounding area you’ll want to set an appointment with the dentist to take a look as soon as possible. During your oral cancer exam, your dentist will look at the oral regions and check for signs of pathologic changes.

The signs that will be investigated during your oral cancer exam include: 

  • Leukoplakia 
  • Red patches and sores 
  • Lumps
Oral Cancer Exam

Oral Cancer Exams, Diagnosis, and Treatment

During the visual part of your exam, your dentist will check for abnormalities. They will feel your face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers are an excellent tool for oral cancer checks. The lasers are able to “look” below the surface for abnormal lesions and signs that are invisible to the naked eye.

If lesions, abnormalities, leukoplakia, or lumps are apparent, your dentist will put together a treatment plan. If the initial treatment plan doesn’t work out, a biopsy will be performed.

Your dentist will check if the basement membrane of the epithelium is broken to determine if there is oral cancer. Malignant types of cancer can spread to other places in the maxillofacial and oral regions. This poses additional threats. Treatment methods will depend on the diagnosis. These may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and excision.

During your regularly scheduled cleaning and checkup every six months, your dentist will look for any lesions or signs of cancer. You should also book an appointment yearly to check for oral cancer.

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Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy (also known as “EBRT”) is often used to treat oropharyngeal or cavity cancer (along with its spread to other organs). This form of treatment focuses on providing radiation to cancer from outside of the body.

A mesh mask may be used to hold your neck, head, and shoulders in the exact position required for treatment. Some patients feel a little confined with the mask on and may need medicine to help relax during the treatment process. The mask may be adjusted in some circumstances to ensure it isn’t too constricting. You may also be fitted for a bite block to hold in your mouth during treatment. Ask your doctor about what options are available.

EBRT is similar to getting an x-ray, but with a stronger dose of radiation. The procedure is painless, and the treatments only last a few minutes each.


Chemotherapy may be used for the treatment of oral cancer. Some of the chemo medications that can be given for the oropharynx and oral cavity with or without radiation include: 

  • Cisplatin
  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol)
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere)
  • Capecitabine
  • Methotrexate

Chemotherapy medication may be used either by itself or alongside other drugs. While mixing drugs may shrink tumors more efficiently, it also may cause more side effects. One common combination is 5-FU and carboplatin. This is a great option for shrinking oropharynx and oral cavity cancers. Another common combination is 5-FU, cisplatin, and docetaxel.

Your doctor will decide on the best treatment or mixture of treatment methods to meet your needs.

Contact Us

Oral cancer can be extremely serious if left untreated for too long. The sooner you can get diagnosed and treated, the better. In order to catch oral cancer early on, set an appointment for a checkup. During your checkup, Dr. Rana Baroudi will be able to check for signs of oral cancer. If any are discovered, she will put a treatment plan in place.

If it’s been a while since your last cleaning and checkup, reach out today and set an appointment. Your dentist will provide you with a top-quality cleaning and will check your teeth, gums, and jawbone.

We look forward to speaking with you!