What steps can be taken to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis of oral malignant melanoma?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth Ann Bilodeau, DMD, MD, MSEd; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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Misdiagnosis and the failure to diagnose are most commonly associated with nonpigmented oral malignant melanomas. Clinically, a lesion may be mistaken for a benign pigmented lesion, a reactive process, or an anatomic variation. This mistake can be made especially when the examination is cursory or performed by healthcare providers who are unfamiliar with oral examination. The best advice is to perform a systematic and thorough examination.

Histologically, amelanotic melanomas require the use of special stains because of the pathologic mimics. Appropriate immunohistochemical stains or panels can be used to distinguish possible considerations such as lymphoid, epithelial, and neuroendocrine lesions.

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