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#147883 - 04/07/12 01:51 AM Is there always evidence of oral cancer?
Billy52 Offline

Registered: 04/07/12
Posts: 1
Loc: Niagara
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum. I'm a 52 year old male, nonsmoker, very light drinker. I was diagnosed with dysplasia in my mouth several times, always in the same general area, although separate occurences. On my recent check ups (every six months), there is no evidence of regrowth in my mouth. I now have a swollen lymph node in the back of my head near where all the activity was. Could it be related? Can cancer develop without obvious symptoms somewhere in your oral cavity? I've see my dentist regularly and have seen an ENT twice. Does oral cancer show up on blood tests? I've got a physical next week and they always do a blood panel. anything to look for? Last year, my LDH was slightly elevated and my physician wasn't concerned.

Thanks much! Billy

#147884 - 04/07/12 02:21 AM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: Billy52]
Cheryld Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 5260
Loc: Toronto canada
Hi there ! Welcome! t - I don't believe it shows up in blood tests - and yes a tumor can be of occult origin (sometimes a primary tumor is hidden or resolves itself leaving behind a node) - behind your head? I suppose it's possible though usally they're found in under the jaw area. Definitely have it checked out but try not t worry too much... good luck!
Cheryl : Irritation - 2004 BX: 6/2008 : Inflam. BX: 12/10, DX: 12/10 : SCC - LS tongue well dif. T2N1M0. 2/11 hemigloss + recon. : PND - 40 nodes - 39 clear. 3/11 - 5/11 IMRT 33 + cis x2, PEG 3/28/11 - 5/19/11 3 head, 2 chest scans - clear(fingers crossed) HPV-, No smoke, drink, or drugs, Vegan

#147889 - 04/07/12 03:32 AM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: Cheryld]
ChristineB Offline
Administrator, Director of Patient Support Services
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 8906
Loc: PA
Hi Billy! Oral cancer will not appear on a blood test. Dysplasia does not always turn into cancer. Swollen lymph nodes are usually a sign of infection or illness. It doesnt always mean cancer. My lymph nodes were not swollen any of the 3 times I had cancer. Hope you continue to be cancer free!
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07, no caregiver
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo extended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line w/ IV antibiotics 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3 times in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile

#148086 - 04/11/12 12:20 PM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: ChristineB]
davidcpa Offline

Administrator, Senior Patient Advocate
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 09/28/06
Posts: 8311
Loc: Gulfport, Florida

If you have a painless swollen node you get someone like a ENT to do a FNA (fine needle aspiration) on it ASAP. Many of us that were Dx'ed with HPV+ oral cancer only had a swollen painless node as our first evidence. Check out my Signature Line below. That's how I found out I was a Stage IV!

Age 58 at Dx, HPV16+ SCC, Stage IV BOT+2 nodes, non smoker, casual drinker, exercise nut, Cisplatin x 3 & concurrent IMRT x 35,(70 Gy), no surgery, no Peg, Tx at Moffitt over Aug 06. Jun 07, back to riding my bike 100 miles a wk. Now doing 12 Spin classes and 60 outdoor miles per wk. Nov 13 completed Hilly Century ride for Cancer, 104 miles, 1st Place in my age group. Apr 2014 & 15, Spun for 9 straight hrs to raise $$ for YMCA's Livestrong Program. Certified Spin Instructor Jun 2014.

#148093 - 04/11/12 03:05 PM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: davidcpa]
Barb Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (300+ posts)

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 497
Loc: Ohio
Hi Billy,
I had voice changes,an once in a while a sharp ear pain and shortness of breath, and the more I talked the deeper my voice got until it sometimes stopped altogether. I believed it was allergies. MY doc sent me for a brochoplasty of the lungs and he called an ENT before I even left the office and sat up an apt.

I had polyps removed twice over a ten year period and finally stopped smoking cold turkey 2 months before the diagnosis. Never put off going to an ENT. They caught mine just in time.

Blessings to you,

Edited by Still (04/11/12 03:07 PM)
[i]"The artist, a traveler on this earth, leaves behind imperishable traces of his being." -Fran

#148121 - 04/11/12 10:52 PM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: ]
KP5 Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 804
Loc: NY
We only found Kevin's through the painless swollen lymph node too. After the fact I realized he had many other symptoms for several months before dx.
Kathy wife/caregiver to:
Kevin age:53
Dx 7/15/11
Non smoker, casual drinker
7/27/11 Cistplatin, taxotere,5FU 2/3week sessions, followed by IMRT 125cgy x 60 (2x daily) w/Erbitux weekly. Last rad 10/26/11. Last Erbitux 10/27/11
PEG placed 9/1/11 Removed 11/8/11
Clear PET 10/12 and 10/13 and ct in 6/14

#148125 - 04/11/12 11:15 PM Re: Is there always evidence of oral cancer? [Re: KP5]
Maria Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)

Registered: 07/15/11
Posts: 929
Loc: Ohio
Hi, Billy
Most of the time lumps and bumps are just that, but it pays to followup carefully if you are not certain of something. The FNA on my husband's swollen node did not pick up any of the cancer cells on the inner surface - only the necrotic tissue generated by his body fighting the cancer. In addition, the tumor itself was not picked up on the original CT scan. Fortunately, the ENT didn't 'like' the look of one one of my husband's tonsils, and refered him to a specialist. The primary tumor did light up the PET that our specialist ordered. The primary tumor was just barely obvious on the associated CT.

As far as blood work goes - a heightened white cell count could point to an infection that could be the cause of the swelling.

I realize that our case is not what anyone would call reassuring, and I am sorry for that, but it does point up the importance of the doctor and his/her abilities, professionalism, and familiarity with oral cancer.

Edited by Maria (04/11/12 11:30 PM)
CG to husband - SCC Tonsil T1N2M0 HPV+ Never Smoker
First symptoms 7/2010, DX 12/2010
TX 40 IRMT (1.8 gy) + 10 Cetuximab
PET Scans 6/2011 + 3/2012 clear, 02/2015 physical exam clear; chest CT's clear of cancer. On thyroid pills. Thrush finally gone. Life is good.


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