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Red bump under tongue, ear pain, smoker, heroin addict, mouth cancer ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 157 Questions
I have this very weird string like red bump under my tounge. I say bump because I thought it was a bump and then through messing with it relized it was more like a string. It s weird because I have a tooth on the same side of the bump that has a burning/tingling sensation, and my ear on that side has pressure in it and pain. The bump is under my tounge, but it s actually on the bottom of my tounge not the floor of my mouth. It has been there for probably almost 5 months and has not gotten smaller. I am a smoker, I have been one for 10 years. I just filled a percription for chantix though, and I am planning on quitting. I also am a recovering heroin addict and didn t brush my teeth for months at a time due to being homeless. Could this be mouth cancer? I just got braces and the dentist didn t say anything about it and neither did I because I thought it would go away but it hasn t. I also had a CBC done recently because I switched my monocyte count. Would cancer have shown up in the CBC? The string bump makes my tounge feel swollen and it burns a little. Please help and thank you.
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Sunil.N 2 hours later

Thanks for your query.

According to your description of the lesion and the history of the smoking over 10 years i think of the following possibilities :

1. Erythroplakia- a precancerous condition seen commonly in people who smokes.

2. Poor dental hygiene and sharp tooth can contribute to this

3. A infected duct because of stone, (wharton's duct of the salivary gland(submandibular gland), as you have mentioned in the history that you have poor oral hygiene which increases the risk for stone formation and to progression to infection.

The above are the possibilities and a clinical examination and investigations like biopsy and sialogram(x-ray of the duct after filling with XXXXXXX to confirm the presence of the stones) are necessary to make a diagnosis.So consult your doctor for the same.

CBC (complete blood count) is basic test which will indicate the blood cells(RBC, WBC, Platelets) these will not indicate any underlying cancers.

Elevated monocytic count can occur because of the chronic infection or the inflammation and rise will be slightly high.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.


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Follow-up: Red bump under tongue, ear pain, smoker, heroin addict, mouth cancer ? 9 hours later
Ok a few more questions. A CBC wouldn't show at all if someone had cancer? I have read but maybe I'm wrong that a CBC would show abnormalities if you have cancer, like in the white blood cell count?
Also, if it were cancerous would it have grown larger by now? And would they have seen it in my dental X-rays? I will find an oral surgeon to get it checked out it is just expensive. So I was just wondering. And also if I sent a picture of it to a doctor on here where would I send it to? Thank you for your responses.
Answered by Dr. Sunil.N 1 hour later

Thanks for follow up query.

CBC can detect blood related cancers like Leukemia , Lymphoma(white blood cell related cancers).
CBC is not diagnostic in your case though certain relevant test result can help in diagnosing the condition.

Yes cancers do grow fast and it may not be missed by the doctors but we are discussing the possibility of a precancerous condition,it will not grow that fast until it changes itself to cancer.

You can post the picture to " YYYY@YYYY " with subject line as "ATTN - Dr.Sunil.N"

Please get back with the picture.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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