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    How can a painful canker sore on the tongue be treated?

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Posted on Mon, 6 Feb 2017 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: I have a growing canker sore on the side of my tounge. It is cloudy around the rim and oval in shape. It doesn't seem to drain but it hurts a lot with the pain migrating from the jaw to the ear. I have been under a great deal of stress. And I have had these problems before undergoing a biopsy which diagnosed the lesion as benign. My dr. Wants to biopsy this in three more weeks. Does this sound like cancer? What can I do for the pain. How much longer should I wait?
My e mail is. YYYY@XXXX.com. XXXXXXX . Please respond. Thank you.
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Answered by Dr. Riddhi Shah 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Observe for signs of Bleeding from ulcer,hardening of base,neck lump

Detailed Answer:
Hi dear XXXXXXX thank you for posting your query on Health Care Magic.
I can understand your concern.

Canker sore (Aphthous ulceration) over tongue is generally oval or round shaped. It has a pale center and generally a reddish rim.The margins of rim are regular. Major Aphthous ulcer are larger in size than minor aphthous ulcer, might be around 1 cm in size. They are also deeper and may take a time of 6 weeks to heal. Healing may occur with a scar.It might be very painful.

Presentation of cancer over tongue may be exophytic (protruding growth), infiltrative (hardening of the tongue mucos) or ulcerative. The common finding is induration(hardening of base)and Ulceration. Ulcer may bleed. Rim is generally irregular. It may lead to lymph node enlargement in neck(lump in neck).

Cancer related ulcer in the initial stage are generally painless.

For reducing pain from ulcer,you may use Analgeic(like Ibuprofen) with Antacid(like Rantac), Anesthetic mouth gel(like containing Lignocaine),Oral and topical oral steroids.
Also take a multivitamin containing Folic acid, Vitamin B6, B12 and Zinc. Do antiseptic mouth gargles like betadine.

Avoid spicy and citrus food which may exaggerate pain. Brush your teeth softly. Always floss your teeth so that no food particles remain inside mouth which may be contributing to the sore. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables and fruit like papaya.

Your biopsy report shows that it is a benign lesion.It might be a major aphthous ulceration which is taking time to heal.

Keep observing for signs of bleeding from ulcer,hardening of base of ulcer,Irregularity of the rim of ulcer or lump in the neck. If any of these signs develop or your ulcer does not heals within 3 weeks,then as advised by your doctor, it would be advisable to do a repeat biopsy.

Hope this answers your question. Don't take stress as you are cautious enough that any cancer in mouth can't go unnoticed and un-detected. I would be happy to answer if you have any follow-up questions.

Wish you a speedy recovery.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Answered by
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Dr. Riddhi Shah

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 518 Questions

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