I know I'll have to take it to a doctor soon, but I wanted to ask here first anyway.
I've had a number of symptoms of asymmetrical swelling and small lumps around the tonsils for quite some time, which I've seen a doctor about twice, the last time more than a year ago now, but was sent away with nothing more serious than a 20 second inspection and a quick chat. The swelling and asymmetry is more pronounced than before, and slightly tender on one side. Also discolouration in the same areas and more generally in my mouth, as well as a greatly improved but still persistent cough and some strange hissing noises in my throat, like a release of pressure, these too are slightly less common than a month ago but still present occassionally, particularly just after waking up. I am a regular smoker and something of a hypochondriac but I'd say there were more and more serious symptoms than last time I saw a doctor about it.
These symptoms emerged concurrently with a serious prolonged bout of flu last December. From which I was left with a number of lessened but persistent symptoms which have developed into my current condition, or so it seemed to me anyway.
All of which is largely background, the main reason I'm posting here is this weird new growth I can feel with my tongue at the back of my mouth. As I mentioned I'm a relatively mild hypochondriac but I do obsess very persistently about at least one area of my body at any given time.
For the last couple of months it has been a small lump just behind my right tonsil, which has changed slightly in feel but not size over that period. Whilst feeling that with my tongue for the 1000th time that day about a week ago, I noticed a new growth situated further back still in my mouth, more or less at the very top of my throat, protruding out from the right wall into the area just behind the base of my tongue.
I suppose it might not be a 'new' growth just one I'd not noticed before, but I have been focusing on that area for a couple of months and hadn't noticed it until a few days ago. I can't feel a similar growth on the other side though I can't reach back as far with my tongue on that side, it's only because I have an abnormally large tongue that I can feel that far back on the right side. It's hard to say if it's any bigger than when I first noticed it, I'm increasingly aware of it when I feel in that area, though that might be psychosomatic.
The reason I describe it as a 'strange' growth is its shape. I can't feel to the base of it because it's too far back, but it feels like a hard, very thin, slightly irregular disc shape, attached to the skin by the thin edge like a flap, about 5mm or so in diameter. I can flap it up and down with my tongue, and the flat surface feels completely smooth. To be clear: it's not a disc shape flat against the wall of my mouth, it's like a disc sticking out into my mouth, like gluing a penny to a wall by the thin edge.
I'd like to restate how thin it is, it's hard and moves up and down without flexing, but it is no thicker than a banknote. Very strange, quite unlike anything I've felt in my mouth before.
Of course the answer I'm looking for is that it's a perfectly normal part of my anatomy that I've just never stuck my own tongue far enough down my throat to feel before, though in that case I'd probably have felt it before now with all the probing I do back there.
Could a growth that shape be cancerous? I've always thought of cancerous growths as lumps or sores, not hard thin flaps, but what do I know...
If it helps at all with a diagnosis I do have a fair few other symptoms elsewhere in my body that might best be described as 'extremely premature aging' (I'm 26), due to my highly unhealthy and crappy lifestyle.
Sorry to ramble on so long, thanks for your time and any advice, I guess I'll have to go back to the doctor with these symptoms soon once I've got up the courage ;)
From the way you're describing it, I believe what you're feeling/talking about is your epiglottis - a perfectly normal part of the anatomy. If you look in your throat with a flashlight, it will appear like a flap at the very back part of your tongue. It blocks food and liquid from entering yoru windpipe.
Thanks for the reply. My feeling is that I'm nearly certain it's not the epiglotis, it's not in the centre of my throat, it's projecting in to the back of my mouth from the right hand side about 2 centimetres back from the tonsil. From the diagram I looked at the epiglotis would be behind and just under the tongue and located in the middle correct? Which is definitely not where this growth is.
I have looked in with a flashlight and I can't see what it is I'm feeling, I think it's obscured by the tonsil. Is there any way it could still be something natural? Certainly I can't see anything like what I'm feeling on any anatomy diagrams I've looked at.
What would be the worst case scenario from what I've described? Is it possible for a tumour to take a hard, flat, plate like shape? It feels rounded at the end, like a small fingernail or something, hard to judge how big it is with my tongue which always make things seem bigger than they are...
Yes, the epiglotis is in the center of the throat at the back of the tongue.
Unfortunately, without actually seeing what you're describing, I really don't have any other ideas as to what it might be. Another unfortunate thing is that from the way you're describing it, it may even be difficult for a doctor to see wht you're describing if you also can't see it when looking at your throat. However, they do have special instruments that do help them see inside the throat, so it's very possible they will be able to see what you're talking about and be able to tell you very easily what it is.
I do suggest you see your doctor, or better yet, an ENT doc and see what they say. If nothing else, it will help put your mind at ease.
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