Lesion guide

This visual ‘atlas’ will help you to identify and describe non-malignant, potentially malignant and malignant oral lesions.

A diverse range of mucosal lesions can occur in the oral cavity. The history and clinical presentation of the non-malignant conditions listed below will help you differentiate them from potentially malignant or cancerous lesions. However, occasionally this can be difficult. If a lesion is suspicious, refer your patient for biopsy and definitive diagnosis.

The stage when oral cancer is diagnosed is important, as it indicates prognosis. Stage I and II oral cancer corresponds directly to size, with no evidence of metastases. Stage III and IV oral cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs. Detection of oral cancer at an early stage can save your patient’s life.

Last updated: April 2023