Cancer Treatment Centers of America
(800) 615-3055

Have questions? Call (800) 615-3055 to speak to a cancer information specialist.

Exfoliative cytology for oral cancer

Exfoliative cytology for oral cancer

Oral cancer detection using exfoliative cytology can be challenging and some cancers may be missed, or may be confused with abnormal but non-cancerous cells, and so a biopsy will be needed to make a definitive diagnosis.

What is exfoliative cytology?

With this approach, a suspicious area is gently scraped to collect a sample of cells. These cells are placed on a glass slide and stained with dye, so that they can be easily viewed under a microscope. If any cells appear abnormal, a deeper biopsy will be done. This technique is very easy to do, allowing even minimally abnormal areas to be examined, which can help with early diagnosis.