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Oral Cancer

Squamous Mucosa Focal Moderate Dysplasia

11/11/2009

Question:

My 63 yr. old husband had an oral cancer screening at the dentist which revealed a lesion on his right lateral tongue.

This was subsequently biopsied.( The section size was 0.3x0.3x 0.2) The surgical pathology report concluded: "Squamous mucosa with focal moderate dysplasia". The surgeon says we should re-check this every 6 mos. 1)Is something like this most often pre-cancerous ? 2) Why not just operate now and remove all of it to be safe? My husband has not smoked for 18 years, but did smoke off and on in his adult life before then. I am really concerned that we are not being aggressive enough. Thank you.

Answer:

First of all, I would like to congratulate him for stopping smoking; it is the most important factor triggering these lesions into cancer.

Yes, it is a precancerous lesion but less aggressive than the severe dysplasia. I agree with the close clinical follow-up since there is no guarantee that margins of the re-removed tissue will not show the same changes. These microscopic changes are not always visible.

But you should call your surgeon as soon as you see any change like ulcer or granulation.

For more information:

Go to the Oral Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Enver  Ozer, MD Enver Ozer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Otolaryngology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University