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head and neck pathology



Pathological  diseases of the head and neck encompass disorders that range from the benign mucocele to life-threatening squamous cell carcinoma.

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Like most cases of pathology early diagnosis and treatment is the key determining factor in the prognosis of the patient.

Because the mouth is a region where changes can be easily seen, oral cancer can be detected in its early stages.  The most common cause of oral cancer is the use of tobacco and alcohol, poor oral hygiene, irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures, poor nutrition and chronic infections.



When performing a self-examination look for the following:

  • White patches on the oral tissue (leukoplakia)
  • Red patches on the oral tissue (erythroplakia)
  • Red and white patches on the oral tissue (erythroleukoplakia)
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • An abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • A mass or lump in the neck.

If you have of these signs a biopsy may be recommended which involves the removal of a piece of the suspicious tissue which is then sent to a pathology laboratory  to accurately diagnose the condition.