This procedure involves removing a suspicious sample of head or neck tissue to check for the presence of abnormal, or cancerous, cells.
A biopsy of the mouth or throat involves the removal of a suspicious sample of head or neck tissue to check for the presence of abnormal, or cancerous, cells. Your healthcare provider may recommend a biopsy of your mouth or throat if you have abnormal findings on an exam or symptoms of head or neck cancer.
Head or neck cancers are a group of cancers that typically start in the moist membranes of the head and neck. This includes the mouth, nose, throat and salivary glands (uncommon). These cancers can develop at any age. However, they are more common in men over 50 years of age. The risk factors for cancers of the head and neck include:
The primary ways to prevent cancers of the head and neck are by not using tobacco and limiting alcohol intake. Good oral hygiene is also very helpful. In addition, being aware of your risk factors can improve your prognosis by leading to early diagnosis and treatment.
The symptoms of head and throat cancers vary depending on the location of the cancer. These symptoms can be similar to those of other less serious conditions, so medical evaluation is necessary. Some of the symptoms include:
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the above symptoms. He or she will review your symptoms and do a physical examination. They may also recommend one of the following tests:
A biopsy is needed to determine if an abnormality is cancer. If your biopsy indicates you do have cancer, additional testing may be needed.
If your healthcare provider recommends a biopsy, prior to the surgery tell them about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). You should also ask about specific instructions to follow before and after the surgery. These include:
If your biopsy indicates you do have cancer, or your cancer has spread, additional testing will most likely be needed.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of head or neck cancer. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and how long you have had them.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a biopsy?
Do not forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility and help at home if needed.
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