Tests and next steps for mouth cancer
Main tests for mouth cancer
If a dentist or GP refers you to a specialist because they think you could have mouth cancer, you’ll have tests to check for cancer.
The main tests for mouth cancer are usually:
- removing a small sample of cells from the affected area of your mouth for testing (a biopsy)
- an X-ray, ultrasound scan, CT scan or MRI scan
Find out more
Getting your results
You’ll usually get the results of tests for mouth cancer within 2 weeks.
Try not to worry if your results are taking longer than you expect. It does not mean anything is wrong.
You can call the hospital or your GP if you're worried and they may be able to update you if your results are ready.
A specialist will explain what the results mean and what will happen next. You may want to bring someone with you for support.
If you're told you have mouth cancer
Being told you have mouth cancer can feel overwhelming. You may be feeling anxious about what will happen.
A group of specialists will look after you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
This team will include a clinical nurse specialist who will be your main point of contact during and after your treatment. You can ask them any questions you may have.
Macmillan Cancer Support has a free helpline that's open every day from 8am to 8pm.
They're there to listen if you have anything you want to talk about.
Call 0808 808 00 00.
If you've been told you have mouth cancer, you may need more tests which can include:
The results of these tests can show how far the cancer has spread, and if the cancer has been caused by certain changes in your genes.
This will help your specialist team decide what treatment you need.
Find out more
Page last reviewed: 19 June 2023
Next review due: 19 June 2026