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Canker sores in mouth, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing. Strep test negative. Have tobacco addiction. Possible causes?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1992
Answered : 47 Questions
Hi my name Ryan. I'm 19 years old and I chew tobacco. I have very sore throat but the strep test came back negative. I have canker sores on my throat and a few in my mouth. I have difficulty swallowing. There's also something white in the back of my throat. Do u have any ideas what's wrong.
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. James M. Schwartz 1 hour later

I am happy to answer your question.

Relatively few infectious sore throats are strep, so it is not surprising that the strep test was negative. The symptoms you describe are consistent with a viral sore throat. This could also explain the sores. One particular virus, called coxsackie, causes a picture very similar to what you are describing. Since antibiotics do not work against viruses, if this is the diagnosis, then it must run it's course. Your doctor would be able to help with a definitive diagnosis.

Smokeless tobacco is well known to cause mouth cancer. Now, it is unlikely that a 19 year old would develop mouth cancer from smokeless tobacco, but not impossible. Every dose of chew increases the risk.

These are the important points with respect to your question. As always, your doctor can help make a definite diagnosis and recommend treatment based on the diagnosis.

I Hope I have answered your question. I will be available to answer your follow up queries. If you are satisfied with all my answer, please do not forget to accept it.

Dr. J. Schwartz
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Canker sores in mouth, sore throat, difficulty in swallowing. Strep test negative. Have tobacco addiction. Possible causes? 2 hours later
I looked at a lot of pictures of strep, and it's mainly what my throat looks like but I know I don't have that. I just want to eliminate te cancer option.
Answered by Dr. James M. Schwartz 6 minutes later
Yes, viral throat infections often resemble strep infections. In medical terminology, it is called 'exudative pharyngitis,' loosely translated, inflamed throat with pus.

I agree that cancer should be a concern. Not necessarily with this episode of illness, but in the event you intend to continue using smokeless tobacco. Your doctor will be able to help you sort this out.

If you are satisfied with my response please accept it.

Best wishes,
Dr. J. Schwartz
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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