Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Endoscopy for oral cancer

Endoscopy for oral cancer

Although most areas of nose and mouth may be examined without the use of an instrument, doctors may use an endoscope to view hard-to-see areas, such as the larynx and behind the nose. 

What is endoscopy?

We use endoscopy to examine areas inside the body for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of cancer.

In an endoscopy, an endoscope (a thin, tube-like device equipped with a camera) is inserted into the body through an opening (e.g., the mouth, anus or urethra) or small incision. Images of areas inside the body can then be seen on a screen.

This technology allows us to explore, in detail, internal structures of the body, such as the esophagus, colon, rectum, stomach, and chest.

Endoscopies have a wide variety of uses. We may use endoscopies to:

  • Detect cancer at an early stage
  • Diagnose a problem or condition
  • Take biopsies or tissue samples
  • Locate and remove cancerous (or pre-cancerous) tissue
  • Remove blockages, such as in the lungs
  • Determine if cancer has spread

There are many different kinds of endoscopes or “scopes,” which are specially designed to look at certain parts of the body. Some scopes are hollow, while others have miniature video cameras attached to the end.

An endoscopy is minimally invasive, requires a smaller incision than traditional surgery, which helps to minimize blood loss, and usually takes less time in the operating room.