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Diagnosis

From a patient’s first visit to BMC, he or she receives highly coordinated, multidisciplinary care that is managed by a BMC Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, a doctor who specializes in treating tumors and cancers of the oral cavity and the head and neck area.

The surgeon will most likely order some testing to confirm the diagnosis of oral cancer. For a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of oral cancer, physicians will use a variety of diagnostic procedures to stage the disease and to determine its severity and spread.

These tests may include: computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). The surgeon may also order a combined PET CT test. All of these tests are important to help the surgeon come up with a diagnosis and a way to stage the patient’s cancer. Staging assesses the degree of local infiltration, involvement of regional lymph nodes and the presence of distant metastases or second primary tumors. The surgeon may also perform a fine needle aspiration (FNA) to make a tissue diagnosis.

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