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Have hard lump on tip of tongue. Is this a sign of oral cancer?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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I have a lump inside my tongue by the tip that can only be felt if I roll my teeth over it, and is relatively painless unless I squeeze it very hard. There is no discoloration over it and the lump is not visible from the outside. It is relatively small in size (like a pea sized lump) and I don't think it has changed in size at all. I noticed it about 4 months ago and I've been paranoid of it ever since. I'm 18 yo, I drink on occasion but quit smoking a couple months ago. Is this a sign of oral cancer?
Posted Sun, 28 Oct 2012 in Dental Health
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 3 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. This seems to be a benign lump. Get it examined by an ENT Specialist or a Dentist. If there is any doubt, an FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) or an Excision Biopsy will settle the issue.

2. There are many other causes besides cancers and tumors such as a tongue bite, taste bud hypertrophy, local hematoma and so on which can give rise to such a swelling. A tongue hemangioma should be ruled out. A Neck USG and Doppler study may be done.

I must emphasize that there is no cause for worry. Cancer at your age is a rare diagnosis.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further queries, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have hard lump on tip of tongue. Is this a sign of oral cancer? 12 hours later
Thank-you for your reply. It did put me at ease and I will consider seeing an ENT specialist asap.

I would also like to add that I do have spinal issues (scoliosis on my thoracic spine and straight cervical spine) and I was seeing a neurologist who after an MRI of my brain, neck and thoracic spine diagnosed me with atypical trigeminal neuralgia (on 3 branches, initially started off as only my opthalmic nerve) which he feels was brought upon by some sort of trauma/compression of the nerves due to my muscoloskeletal issues (I was operated for a neuroblastoma when I was 4 years old in my mediastinum on the left side and my neurologist pointed out that they basically butchered me, as well as cut part of the peripheral nerve which left me with a numbing sensation under my armpits since I was a kid and horner's syndrome which was later corrected with minor surgery on the eyelid a couple years ago; on another note I have horrible posture as well, all which have contributed to the tension in my muscles.) I've been having this pain for almost a year now.

With all this said, I've noticed however that every time I get a flare up, which usually lasts for a couple days, I get a burning sensation on the left side of my tongue (all my pain is in the left side of my face). I explained this to the neurologist and he associated it to the trigeminal neuralgia. This was, of course, before I knew of the lump in my tongue, which I casually stumbled upon one day and noticed that it hasn't gone away since. I would like to know if the trigeminal neuralgia/ burning tongue/ lump have any correlation to one another, or if this is just a coincidence.

My apologies that this is so long, but I'm hoping to hearing your opinion on the matter soon. Thanks.
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 13 hours later

Thank you for writing back.

1. The numbness of the anterior tongue due to trigeminal neuralgia may be the reason there may be an inadverent tongue injury or denervation changes in the tongue musculature.

2. You may follow up with the results of your examination and test results.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further queries, I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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