Oral Symptoms; Looking for Insight

rchang Member Posts: 1
edited July 2017 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Hello all,

I've got a series of oral symptoms that I'm concerned about, but feeling super confused. I've tunneled my way through the Dr. Google archives and decided to post here in the hope that this community can help me gain some insight.

I'm experiencing a variety of oral symptoms that, if they were isolated, I wouldn't worry about, but because they're clustered together I'm feeling concerned. 

Around May I noticed that I kept nipping the sides of my tongue while speaking and sometimes eating; very slight. Then, in June, my right tonsil became swollen and inflamed. The flesh in front of the tonsil (the pillar?) is also reddened. Around 2.5 weeks ago, I noticed that the flesh of my buccal mucosa along my bottom right mouth has become a bit thicker; if I palpate one spot, I can feel a patch of flesh that moves between my fingers. The lining looks smooth; it isn't hard, but it is definitely there. Now, I've found a small white bump in the back, right side of the tongue; it is a bit painful. Intermittent ear ache in the right as well. All my symptoms are on the right side! To boot, one swollen lymph node on the right side. 

I have a history of GERD that I've been treating with H2 Blockers and PPIs; before I moved & switched physicians (pre oral symptoms), my GI & ENT docs were confident that I was in fine fettle. Now, I've seen a variety of PCPs (I have to go to a clinic) who told me, in a variety of ways, that I have nothing to worry about. Using Flonase to see if it will abate the diagnosis of post-nasal drip. A dentist was also confident that I was fine. I have not asked for a referral to an ENT, and have been hemming & hawing over it, as I'm not sure if I'm just paranoid. I've seen a lot of doctors in the past few weeks, as I know early stage oral cancers are often overlooked.

I'm a 29 y/o male who's a social drinker, regular smoker (at 1/day, motivated to quit), and moderate tea/coffee drinker. Confused, as I'm a young man in good health, but concerned about my history of bad habits catching up with me. I understand that many of my concerns cannot be definitively answered, but am hoping that some of you will share your stories and journeys to help me calm down/make a decision/continue seeking treatment. 


Thanks to you all. Best thoughts--



  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member

    Hi Ryan,

    Welcome to the H&N forum, where symptoms are often few and a positive biopsy usually confirms your membership.

    Most of us (not all) had a swollen lymph node in the neck with no pain.  After an exam by an ENT who saw something suspicious, followed by a positive biopsy we were on our way.

    We say you don’t have cancer until the doctor tells you that you have cancer.  I do not know what you have, but there are plenty of people with various symptoms who do not have cancer.  For your sake,  I hope you are one of them.