There can be tumors in the parotid gland which are usually benign but can be malignant. It is important for an assessment to be carried out carefully and surgery done early before they become too big. Lumps in the mouth can also be coming from cancer of the minor salivary glands.
Gum swellings: gingival lesions such as the pyogenic granuloma can be common but important to exclude oral cancer and hence all lesions should be examined by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon trained in the management of oral cancer.
Mucosal lesions: the fibroepithelial polyp can be easily diagnosed by an experienced surgeon though again it is important to exclude cancer. The FEPs could be caused by a virus called the Human Papilloma Virus which has some implications related to the development of oral cancer (see this link).
White / Red patches / Lichen planus : white or red patches or lines in the mouth or lip has to be carefully examined by an experienced surgeon as they can be precancerous lesions. White patches can be however be due to infections such as candidiasis or commonly known as thrush. A relative common condition called oral lichen planus may present as a white or red patch. It can be found on the lips and conditions that don’t heal should be biopsied.
Tongue Cancer and Jaw Oral Cancer : tongue swellings can have many causes. Tumors can be benign but one has to be careful that it did not grow to too large a size which can be a problem removing them without causing too much deformity.
Mouth cancer or oral cancer if detected early has high cure rates of almost 90% 5 years survival but unfortunately most patients present to the doctor late. Studies in India had shown that oral cancer awareness will help to decrease mortality and improve survival as the disease is detected early.
Oral Self Examination
Doctors in India had shown that by teaching patients to examine their own mouth could help to detect early cancer lesions early and hence save lives. Dr Fan has modified the self examination steps for patients to help to look into their own mouths more systematically.
Modified Oral Self Examination Techniques by Dr Victor Fan:
Wash your hands and look in front of a mirror with good lighting. Do the following 10 steps in a systematic fashion from the lips, cheeks, tongue, floor and roof of mouth looking for any abnormalities. (see link)
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Dr Victor Fan
MB BCH; BAO (UK)
6 Napier Road
#07-03 Gleneagles Medical Centre
Phone: +65 64722982
Fax: +65 64722782