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Is sore tongue and enlarged papillae accompanied by intermittent feeling of congestion likely to be cancer?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 1055 Questions
I have had a sore tongue and enlarged papillae accompanied by an intermittent feeling of congestion or "foreign body" in my throat for 3 months now. The tongue soreness and enlarged papillae are always on the sides of my tongue near the back or base and over the past 3 months they have alternated from left side to right side several times and varied in intensity from mild to very painful. I have been a smoker for years. I also drink coffee every morning. I noticed the pain intensified after drinking coffee and smoking so I stopped. After more than a week of abstaining from coffee and smoking the pain and enlarged papillae reduced slightly but not significantly and not permanently. Curiously, after a heavy relapse of smoking and binge drinking, I had 2-3 days of complete relief where all pain was gone and no enlarge papillea. They both returned about a week later and have continued to persist. My doctor (PCP) does not see anything wrong and the prescription grade antiseptic mouthwash he prescribed is not helping after 2 weeks of use. My dentist did not see anything wrong or unusual upon visual inspection. How can I get this diagnosed and treated? What type of specialist should I see? Do I need a biopsy? Does this sound like oral cancer?
Posted Tue, 31 Dec 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Praveen 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Hi.This is unlikely to be cancer Detailed Answer: Hi.Thanks for writing on XXXXXXX In my opinion this is unlikely to be cancer.This is a subjective sensation which occurs in most people when you consume any liquid/food which is hot or due to irritation like smoke due to smoking. This is the reason why neither your PCP nor the dentist could see anything unusual on examination.Avoid hot foods, minimize smoking and this will subside with time. If you feel its really bothering you can consult a ENT specialist (Otolaryngologist) and take his opinion. Biopsy is taken only when there is abnormal growth. I still feel this is just a feeling (vague) and does not sound like cancer at all. Hope this helps. Keep us posted for further queries.
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