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Getting diagnosed

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms including what they are, when you get them, and what makes them better or worse. They will also examine you.

Your doctor might arrange tests, or referral to a specialist.

Seeing your GP

There are some things you can do to get the most out of your GP appointment if you have symptoms of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer.

Pictures of mouth cancer

These photos give you an idea of what possible mouth cancers can look like, but remember that they might appear differently to this.

Referral to a specialist

Your GP should arrange for you to have a test or to see a specialist if you have symptoms that could be due to mouth or oropharyngeal cancer. 

Screening for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

 There is no national screening programme for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. Read more about this.

Tests to diagnose mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and they might examine you. Most people will have a biopsy to diagnose mouth or oropharyngeal cancer.


Tests to stage mouth and oropharyngeal cancer

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread.

Last reviewed: 
27 May 2021
Next review due: 
27 May 2024
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer