Early oral cancer detection methods can be as simple as you noticing a sore or discoloration in your mouth, lips or tongue that does not heal within two weeks. Your dentist might also notice something during a routine dental visit. Once you or your dentist suspects there is an issue, you should see an ear, nose and throat specialist.
The specialist will perform a complete physical exam and conduct a family history. A biopsy and blood tests will also be conducted. Diagnostic imaging such as computer tomography (CT) scanning may also be used to determine if the bones or lymph nodes have been affected. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to see if any soft tissues are involved and to provide a three-dimensional image of any tumor.