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Dark purple spots underneath tongue, irregularly shaped spot on face, smoker since long. Aging process or concern for cancer?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My husband is a smoker and has been for about 30 years (he is 44 and in pretty good health otherwise). I have noticed several dark purple spots underneath his tongue. Additionally, he has a new, irregular shaped brown spot on his face. Are these just part of the aging process, or should I encourage him to get this looked at out of concern for cancer?
Posted Wed, 2 May 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 7 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

The dark purple spots under the tongue might be normal if asymptomatic and no pain, ulceration accompanied.

Even the brown spot or nevus on face may be a benign age related change. The features of a melanoma are that they are mostly hyper-pigmented lesions, asymmetrical, irregular borders and usually more than five mm or an increasing size.

Smoking does predispose him to cancer. For confirmation of diagnosis you should get him checked by a Dermatologist or an orofaciomaxillary surgeon and be safe than sorry.

I won't say that his symptoms are suggestive of cancer but regular checkups in high risk patients are very much recommended.

Hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

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