Mouth, Throat, and Esophagus
Mouth cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that develops in the mouth. This cancer could develop in many areas of the mouth such as the lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, and the roof or floor of the mouth. Cancer in the mouth is often referred to as oral cancer or oral cavity cancer.
Your throat reaches from your nose to the end of your neck. Your voice box is located right below your throat containing your vocal cords which allow you to talk. Throat cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that develops in one of these two areas.
Esophageal cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that develops in your esophagus. Your esophagus is a long tube that carries the food you swallow from your throat to your stomach to be digested. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along this tube.
During a physical exam, your doctor will examine your mouth for any visual abnormalities. This includes searching for irritation and evaluating any pain you may be feeling in your mouth.
During an endoscopy, your doctor inserts a small camera through your mouth into your throat to check for signs of cancer and/or to see if it had spread.
During an imaging test, your doctor searches for cancer that may be present below the surface of your mouth, throat, or esophagus. These imaging tests may include a CT scan, PET scan, or MRI.
During a tissue biopsy, a small amount of tissue is removed from an area that is suspected of cancer. This tissue is sent to a pathologist to check for signs of cancer and see how far it has progressed.
During a swallow study, the patient swallows a liquid containing barium and undergoes an x-ray. The barium in the liquid helps to see if any changes have occurred in your esophageal tissue.