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#25995 - 11/15/03 11:27 PM white bump on lower gum
kimh Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/03
Posts: 3
Loc: south
Hi! I am worried sick and need some input. About a month ago I saw a small white hard bump on the bony part of my lower gum. Today I noticed that it is still there. I do not smoke or drink alcohol, but I do brush me teeth hard which I understand is a risk factor. I plan to see my dentist Monday, but know I will worry all weekend. Does this sound symptomatic of oral cancer?

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#25996 - 11/16/03 07:13 PM Re: white bump on lower gum
Brian Hill Offline
OCF Founder
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 4662
Loc: Laguna Niguel, CA
Brushing your teeth hard is not a risk factor for developing oral cancer. But you are wise to have someone look at it since it has been around more than a couple of weeks. Remember that the vast number of things like this that dentists see every day in people's mouths are benign and not serious. Keep that thought in your mind until you get a professional opinion.
_________________________
Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

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#25997 - 11/18/03 08:01 AM Re: white bump on lower gum
kimh Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/03
Posts: 3
Loc: south
Well I had a biopsy done Mon. At first the oral surgeon said if he were me he probably wouldn't even have it removed, but he would if I wanted him to for my piece of mind. However, when I asked him if it looked suspicious, he said I would think it is suspicious if you smoked or had ever smoked or drank alcohol heavily but since you don't then I would say no. Now, I'm confused. Either it looks suspicious or it doesn't. I won't here back from the biopsy for a week and I am scared!
Kim

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#25998 - 11/18/03 08:32 AM Re: white bump on lower gum
Gary Offline
Administrator, Resident radiation science expert
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 3537
Loc: San Francisco CA
Hi Kim,
Personally, after what I have been through and learned the hard way, I would get a referal to an ENT or Head and Neck surgeon who sees these kinds of cases. I had a doctor, oral surgeon, dentist and hygenist (who routinely checks for cancer) look at it and tell me it was nothing to worry about - which turned out to be a stage III/IV SCC and could easily have killed me. Had they not "blue skyed" me I may have sought treatment earlier when it was still a stage I or II. Cancer is a specialty and not all doctors will immediately recognize it. At least they did a biopsy which is a pretty reliable test.

Don't let this scare you. As Brian said there could be many reasons for the white bump. If it were me, I would want the earliest possible accurate diagnosis. Cancer is not the kind of disease that you should fool around with an inaccurate diagnosis. Then you can move on without lingering doubts.

It's great that you don't drink or smoke and caught it early.
_________________________
Gary Allsebrook
***********************************
Dx 11/22/02, SCC, 6 x 3 cm Polypoid tumor, rt tonsil, Stage III/IVA, T3N0M0 G1/2
Tx 1/28/03 - 3/19/03, Cisplatin ct x2, IMRT, bilateral, with boost, x35(69.96Gy)
________________________________________________________
"You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14 NIV)

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#25999 - 11/18/03 03:10 PM Re: white bump on lower gum
Brian Hill Offline
OCF Founder
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 4662
Loc: Laguna Niguel, CA
Any doctor or dentist who says that he is not concerned because of your lack of tobacco and alcohol use is not up to speed on what is happening across the US. The fastest growing group of oral cancer patients is young people who have never used tobacco or alcohol to excess. This guy is behind the knowledge curve. How many people have you read about just here on the board that had oral cancer and did not smoke? Tons!! It is being talked about in every major treating institution in the US, and they are trying to find the causes. Many fingers are pointing strongly at HPV, but that is an academic point if you have s lesion in your mouth that has been there 14 days and not resolved. A good doctor should do one of two things at this 14 day point. Biopsy the lesion or refer you further up the food chain of doctors to someone else. My personal choice is an oral medicine specialist, who works in conjunction with an oral pathologist. Unfortunately they are usually mainly located at dental schools in major metropolitan areas. But at least he has done the prudent thing
_________________________
Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

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#26000 - 11/19/03 12:22 AM Re: white bump on lower gum
Mandi Offline
Gold Member (100+ posts)

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 189
Loc: Maryland
Dear Kim,

You didn't say whether any other dental work has ever been done near this tooth. The only reason I bring this up, is that before I got pregnant with my first son, I was in a horrific car accident. The damage was very severe to my mouth. I had several teeth that had to have root canals and veneers to cover the dark roots.

When I became pregnant about 5 years later, I noticed a "white-head" on my gum. I could actually (I know this is gross) mash it and get the infection out. Days later it would be right back.

When I was finally able to afford to see a dentist, he explained that it was an abcess, but because I had had a root canal earlier, I was unable to feel it. (They seem to kill the nerves to that particular tooth, and close proximity.)

I pray that this is your case.

Love,
Mandi
_________________________
Husband diagnosed with stage III tonsil and floor of mouth cancer in August 2002. Three rounds of chemo/42 RAD treatments. Upper right lung lobectomy in March 2003. (Benign)

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#26001 - 11/19/03 07:50 AM Re: white bump on lower gum
kimh Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/03
Posts: 3
Loc: south
I havn't had any dental work done near the tooth lately. And the dentist and oral surgeon didn't mention the possibility of it being an abcess. I know that HPV causes genital warts, but what does it look like on the gums. Does it look like a wart? Is it sore? I have read some info on the link between HPV and oral cancer. However, I didn't find anything about what it looks like or feels like. Thanks for any info!
kim

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#26002 - 11/19/03 03:02 PM Re: white bump on lower gum
michelle41 Offline
Supporting Member (50+ posts)

Registered: 10/20/03
Posts: 87
Loc: sf area
Hello,

To echo what some others have said, check with an ENT, or oral surgeon. Try to find a major center- university , or dental school. Ask if they see many cases of oral cancer.

First, not all mouth sores or lesions are cancerous. So do not panic. But you should be AWARE and educate yourself. Also continue to follow-up the matter if the spot continues.

I am 41 years old, never smoked or used tobacco products, and am a moderate/social drinker averaging 2-8 drinks per week. In September 2003 I was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer on my tongue. But for 20 months prior, I was being treated for leukoplakia - white patches in my mouth. Over that time I had several bioposies - I know that awful feeling waiting for results - biposies were described as "Leukoplakia" or "dysplasia" indicating a precancerous condition.

What did it look like? For years I had a white patch on the side/underside of my tongue. It didn't hurt or bother me. It may have started as a canker sore that healed but never went away. I also had a jagged molar next to it that may have aggravated it. Then suddenly one day I observed a RAISED, vertical white growth on top. That is what sent me to my general dr. It did ressemble a warty growth, but leukoplakia has different appearances. (there are pistures on this web site)

So, I would suggest doing research on leukoplakia. I don't recall the exact web sites but I found a lot of information.

Ask the doctors what possibilities it could be (abcess, fungal, inflamation, etc) and why they think it is or isn't.

2 diagnostic tools that you might want to ask about are toludiene blue staining and Oral brush biopsy.

Don't panic or worry, but educate yourself, be your own advocate, don't ignore it if it pursists. Feel relieved that you are addressing it now, and if it is a problem, catching it early.

good luck!
_________________________
History of leukoplakia <2001-2004. SCC lateral tongue 9/03; left radical neck dissection & hemiglosectomy 10/03, T2-3,N0M0; 28 IMRT radiation completed 12/03. 30 HBO dives Oct-Nov 04 for infections and bone necrosis -mandible.

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#26003 - 11/19/03 03:05 PM Re: white bump on lower gum
michelle41 Offline
Supporting Member (50+ posts)

Registered: 10/20/03
Posts: 87
Loc: sf area
ps
my leukoplakia spots didn't hurt but I could feel the raised patches rubbing against my teeth
michelle
_________________________
History of leukoplakia <2001-2004. SCC lateral tongue 9/03; left radical neck dissection & hemiglosectomy 10/03, T2-3,N0M0; 28 IMRT radiation completed 12/03. 30 HBO dives Oct-Nov 04 for infections and bone necrosis -mandible.

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#26004 - 11/19/03 07:10 PM Re: white bump on lower gum
Brian Hill Offline
OCF Founder
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 4662
Loc: Laguna Niguel, CA
kimh HPV virus is not visible in the mouth. It lives within the cells themselves and it is capable of mutanogenic changes in those cells. But out of the over 100 types of HPV there are only about 4 which have this ability, If it is producing a wart, (a papilloma) it is likely not one of the dangerous types. Therefore there is nothing to see. The type that causes genital warts for instance is not the type that causes cervical cancer.
_________________________
Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

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