Just wanted to begin by saying that this community is amazing in terms of advice, support, and sheer strength. I'm Michael and I'm a 22 year old college student. I should be worrying about finals right now... but, instead I'm panicking about a lump in my mouth that's recently appeared.
A few weeks ago I woke up to a bony, painless, unmovable lump about the size of a BB gun pellet on the left side of my hard palate. It feels deeply embedded, unpoppable, and like bone. I immediately noticed it with my tongue. I had it examined by a GP, who had no clue what it was, so he referred me to an ENT at a cancer care clinic who I will be meeting with this Monday. I've had all three Gardisil shots (so most likely HPV16 negative) and only smoke marijuana, but I do drink a lot as a college student. At this point I feel that oral cancer is a possibility as it still has not resolved itself after three weeks.
I understand that no one here can give out medical advice, but does anyone have a clue as to what this could be? Torus palatinus is often suggested, but that usually occurs symmetrically on the midline of the palate. I have a solid, fixed lump only on the left side of my hard palate, close to one of my molars.
Just concerned and would appreciate any of your thoughts.
First and foremost you need to start concentrating on your finals! There's nothing you can do until you meet with the ENT doctors who may very well tell you that it's not cancer - no one knows for sure except the doctors.
Now, it's easy for me to say....right?
Does this mass you have bleed at all? When my mass first appeared it was solid but it would bleed - without having any pain.
Hopefully you can take my advice and try to stay concentrated on your studies!
Please let us know your results on Monday,
Thank you for sharing! Whatever this is, it doesn't bleed at all. I've gone crazy digging at it and trying to make it pop or leak, but it doesn't. It almost feels like a smooth piece of bone coming from out of the hard palate. A little red in color, probably from me irritating it.
I'm trying my best to focus, but I'm reminded of it every second of the day! I just wish it would disappear.
I'm not a doctor, of course, but I know if it's not bleeding - especially when you are trying to pop it, etc. - that's a good sign! When my ENT asked me if mine would bleed and I told him "yes" he said that wasn't a good sign and he then believed it to be a cancerous tumor (pre-biopsy results). Of course, upon examining it further he actually made mine bleed which only confirmed what I had told him.
Take a deep breath Michael and slowly exhale - my money is on it NOT being cancer but, then again like I said previously, only a doctor can tell you for sure.
Not back to those books and studying!!
Thanks for your assurance! It almost feels like a bony protuberance... if I'm lucky, it's just atypical torus palatinus.
I hate the anxiety of dealing with the unknown. I think my doctor will want to do a CT scan on Monday and then schedule a biopsy if the results are concerning. In your experience, are the results made available during the same visit as the CT scan?
Yes, my oncologist would always give me the results of my CT scan on the same day. However, that's because she knew the anxiety I would go through awaiting the results so she always had them ready for me that same day.
Try and get your scan first thing in the morning - then you'll have more of a chance getting the results the same day. Keep in mind that your ENT doctor usually has seen more than his share of cancer and should be able to give you a pretty good idea of whether or not it's cancer even before he sends you down for the CT scan.
My ENT doctor took a sample of my tumor while I was sitting in his office - so it was submitted to the lab immediately for a biopsy (I don't remember if I was given those results the same day or not). However, he was able to tell me that he was 95% sure the tumor was cancerous (and he was right!).
So, I would say that within 24-30 hrs from now you should know what's going on in your mouth....please write down all the questions that you have for your doctor. Trust me, once you're in his office tomorrow it'll be very easy to forget what you want to ask him.
Will do, I've got a list ready to go.
His secretary told me he brings the scans to a tumor board every Thursday to examine them. I'll see if I can squeeze an answer or educated guess out of him tomorrow. I also hate the anxiety of being in limbo. I'll be posting an update later in the evening tomorrow.
I'll be watching for an update from you. Hang in there and think positive! How are the studies going? You don't need any added stress so see if you can take your mind off this for less than 24 hours by studying for those finals! I remember my college finals all too well and I know if you get behind it's very difficult to catch up, so you need to study and be well prepared.
Next time you see your doc, ask if you can attend the tumor board meeting. If you are going to a comprehensive cancer center (CCC), patients are allowed to attend, caregivers too. Remember all those docs are there working for you.
Waiting is the worst!!!! Preparing for finals should help make passing the time easier. Anything that requires concentration, is something positive and complex should do the trick.
Someone once told me that when you hear the hoofbeats look for the horse, not the zebra. More than likely its what you suggested, a torus palatinus. We are not medical folks, so we cannot diagnose. You are doing the right thing by getting evaluated. Best of luck at your appointment!
Thank you for all of the great advice. I had my appointment today and my ENT suspects it to be either a salivary stone or a tumor. He doesn't think it's torus palatinus how sudden it appeared, and the location that it is in.
I'm set up for an MRI Thursday morning. I wanted to ask, how does an MRI differ from a CT scan? Also, would the MRI be enough to properly diagnose it, or should I push for a biopsy as well?
I'm going to be praying for a salivary stone! It's great that he didn't immediately say it was cancer.
The difference between an MRI and a CT scan? My understanding is that the MRI uses magnetic fields and radio frequency whereas the CT scan uses x-rays. If the radiologists suspect anything he will request a biopsy (or at least state in his report enough information to where your doctor will know to order one). If not, and if it makes you feel better, I would go ahead and request the biopsy yourself.
I know when my oncologist is looking for cancer in me, she always orders a PET scan!
Time to start asking your doctor these questions.
Hope the studies are going well!
Only a biopsy will tell the doc exactly what the tumor is made up of. Taking a tiny sample of tissue directly from the tumor will give much more info than any kind of scan which is pretty much an enhanced photo.
Since Im not a medical professional, my understanding is very limited about all the different scans. From what I know, a CT is very quick pic and works best for bones while MRIs are best for muscles (soft tissue). MRIs take much longer (around 45-50 minutes) than CTs and may have contrast (dye) added for even greater clarity.
Hopefully whatever you have going on is not cancerous! Please let us know how you make out. Good luck!!!
Hi Susan and Christine,
Thanks for you advice!
I had to cancel my MRI. I pushed for a biopsy because it would take forever to reschedule an MRI, wait for the MRI results, then schedule for a biopsy, then wait for those results. I have sinus surgery in four weeks so I am trying to speed up the process. I was sent in a whirlwind trying to schedule a biopsy with cytology and pathology, but was told that they can't biopsy the roof of my mouth for some reason.
So now my doctor is offering to surgically remove the lump for me. I feel that might be the quickest and most direct course of action to figure out the nature of what is growing on the roof of my mouth. I assume/hope he will send it to testing. More updates to come.
I was hoping you would post an update. I guess I'm not sure why they can't biopsy the growth on the roof of your mouth either...interesting.
If it was me, and knowing that this spot has been bothering you, I would first find out what is all involved for your doctor to remove it and will there be any side effects. Then I would have it removed!
I don't believe I've asked this but have you gone for a second or third opinion? That was one thing I made sure I did - especially since doctors can have different opinions. Just a thought if you haven't already done so.
Keep us updated!
I have an appointment with the doctor to discuss the surgery next Monday! It's frustrating because his secretaries wont let me speak to him; I have to make an actual appointment to have a conversation with him and it slows down the process.
I really wanted to get multiple opinions, but this lump appeared at the least convenient time. The bureaucracy of healthcare makes things incredibly slow and I have another operation lined up after I get this lump removed.
See.... I broke my nose 8 years ago, had an unsuccessful operation to fix it 4 years ago, and scheduled another (and hopefully final) nose operation that is taking place in December with a top surgeon near my hometown. I've had this booked for nearly a year and would hate to cancel. I'm away for college and the operation is taking place around Christmas when I go home, so I'm on a tight schedule.
On one hand, I'd love to breathe again. On the other, if this is cancer in my hard palate, there is a chance that it is also in my sinus cavity. I need this lump tested as soon as possible - if a needle biopsy isn't possible for some weird reason, then I guess I have no choice but to have it cut out, considering my time constraints.
Just discovered a tender, swollen lymph node in my right armpit... about the diameter of a penny. Anything to get worked up about?
Sorry for the delay in responding....
Just the other day I found a similar spot under my left arm. I waited a few days to call my Oncologist to see if it would go away by itself - well, it didn't. I called Mayo and she thought it was cellulitis and prescribed an anti-inflammatory along with an antibiotic. Within three days it started to drain (a substantial amount), which leads me to believe it was an abscess. I see my Oncologist tomorrow and will know more after she looks at it.
I would let your doctor know what you've found and then I would just keep a really close eye on it.
Hope this was helpful....
How are you doing, ever find out what caused your swollen lymph node/abscess?
Mine turned out to be from a virus which was awful and long-lasting so I took some antibiotics.
I had an MRI, nothing came back odd but my doctor wanted to move forward with the surgical biopsy just to be sure. I was knocked out with anesthesia for a couple of hours. The operation wasn't too bad, much easier than having wisdom teeth removed. Still not sure why they couldn't just fine-needle biopsy it, but it is what it is.
I'll find out what the lump is on Monday! The entire left side of my hard palate is 100% numb as of 15 hours post-op, which has me concerned because my speech is ever so slightly off now.