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Avatar universal

Possible cancer in throat/mouth

I jumped over here after spending the last two months in the STD forum.  I have had swollen glands for over two months.  They are under my jawline and ears only and bilateral.  They are not as swollen as they were a few weeks ago, but are still there.  I don't have anything regarding any of the glands on the rest of my body(armpits, groin, etc).  I have recieved numerous antibiotic treatments and seen 7 or 8 docs in this time, but nothing helped much.  Now the last doc I saw wants me to have a biopsy.  I have been feeling like there is something caught in my throat for the last couple days now.  It's at the base of my throat, under my adam's apple, right in the dimple where my collar bone comes to a V.  I can't feel anything externally at all.  It's all inside my throat when I swallow.  It gets scratchy at times but doesn't hurt and i have to clear my throat a lot, but that doesn't help.  I also have slight tenderness in my neck muscles and there are small reddish-pink clusters of growth-like things on both corners of my tongue where it meets my throat in the back(been told these are normal as well, but can't remember ever seeing them before).  I also have larger than normal bumps on the back of my tongue which I am told is normal taste buds.  However, I can feel something going down the back of my tongue when I push it back against my throat.  I don't know if it's something on my throat that I can feel with my tongue, or something on my tongue I can feel with my throat...if that makes sense.  It just feels like bumps.  Kinda like when you get pus pockets from tonsilitis or strep throat, only I don't have my tonsils or strep.

I have had numerous tests including STD's(including AIDS/HIV), blood tests for CBC and liver and kidney functions, mono, urine cultures, etc. and all came back fine.  One ENT did a CT of my head and said I had a severe sinus infection.  After two weeks of Cipro it didn't help my symptoms.  I have recently been battling lower abdominal pain that referred to my left testicle that was fairly bothersome.  Last week my current doc gave me a shot of Rocephin and a one time dose of zithro in case it was an STD infection.  My lower abdominal and testicle pain completely went away, but the throat condition got worse this past week since my treatment.  Now she wants the biopsy.  

I read where two symptoms of throat cancer is a sinus infection that can't be cured with antibiotics and a feeling of something caught in your throat.

I dip snuff and drink beer lightly but frequently (weekends with friends and such).  My doc wasn't too calming the other day when she re-assessed me.  I go for the biopsy this week.  Hopefully it is something else, but too many symptoms are indicative of throat cancer.  Can anyone here give me some insight from your own experiences that may have been though this?  Similar symptoms?  Treated for something else but turned out to be cancer?  Thought it was cancer but turned out to be something else?  Anything?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
I've been going through the same thing as you are....throat symptoms that made me think I had cancer, so I went to the ENT who scoped me but could see nothing, but he felt a small patch that concerned him, so he biopsied it...benign, CT came back no for cancer, even a PET came back no, but ENT was still worried and took one tonsil out, also benign. Went to Cleveland Clinic for 2nd opinion, but he also didn't think it was cancer. Both ENT's are treating it as GERD...check it out here. Lot's of symptoms are similiar. What did your ENT see that she is going to biopsy? My symptoms all began in March...try not to worry too much like me..it made things worse. But it did make me quit smoking right then on my first visit, so you know you have to quit dipping!! Good luck and keep me posted.
Avatar universal
I don't know what she saw to request a biopsy.  I guess it's all the symptoms and treatment I have been having to no avail so this is the next step.  I have hayfever allergies and my throat feels like it does when it starts closing off when I have an allergergic reaction.  Benadryl and my allergy meds doesn't make it better though.  It's only been a couple days, but something is there.  You may want to look at my other posts to get a more up to date history as to what I have been going through.  I just want to get better and when I think I have it licked, another symptom arises totally different than before.

I should find out tomorrow when my appt for the biopsy is.  I know it will be this week.  And, I haven't quit dipping yet because my theory is why should I if it is cancer, it's already too late.  However, if the doc says everything is benign, I have already made up my mind to take my can out of my pocket and give it to him and never pick it up again.  Right now though until I find out for sure I can't see quitting because I would go completely insane.  And I don't need any extra stress right now.  I promise I will quit if I get good news.

Another thing is I had a possible exposure to Benzene while on a job about two weeks before I started getting symptoms.  While removing a thermocoupling on an exchanger that was under nitrogen purge, the pressure on the vessel blew up my taped sleeve of my acid suit and into my left arm sleeve.  I didn't think much of it because the exchanger was supposed to be clear of anything but nitrogen, but you never know.  I don't know if benzene would cause all of this so quick, but it does concern me.

Instead of speculating I will wait on the results of the biopsy.  I have enough Xanax to tide me over until then...I hope!  lol
Avatar universal
Please keep us posted.....If it is throat cancer, it is very treatable, but you have to remove the irritants to prevent it from returning. I lost my brother-in-law last year to throat cancer because he continued to partake in the offenders. Even after he had his voice box removed several years ago, he just wouldn't quit. He also had problems with his throat for 2 years prior to that surgery, so you're doing the right thing by watching all your symptoms and treating them immediately!

Good luck with everythin:, you will get through this as long as you remain proactive!!!
Avatar universal
And, I don't think it is throat cancer.....it's a lot like my silent GERD. I, too was convinced that I had throat cancer, and everyone thinks I'm nuts, too. So, hang in there!!
Avatar universal
Well I hope you're right.  I go for either my consulation or biopsy tomorrow.  I don't know what he plans to do, but I would think he needs to talk to me first to see what and why he is biopsying, then do the biopsy.  All I know is I have to be there at 1:00pm tomorrow.

My abdominal pain came back the other day too.  I find it weird that antibiotics will make me feel fine for a week or so then everything comes back.  If it was cancer, would the anti's have the same effect?  I wouldn't think so, since anti's don't treat cancer.  It may be possible that I still have a simple sinus infection and may have become immune to the anti's since I have taken soooo many in the last three months.  I can't figure out why whatever is going on in my throat would have anything to do with my lower region anyway.

I also have found another weird fact.  I am allergic to certain grasses, especially bahaia(sp?) which I have plenty of in my fields.  When I just sit around most of the day I normally feel bad and have that "something caught in my throat" feeling.  My glands will also swell to about the size of my thumb.  However, when I go outside and get active, ESPECIALLY cutting grass like I did today, I feel better and my glands arent swollen nearly as much.  Seems like it would be the other way around if it had to do with my allergies.  The only logic I can put to that is my body is producing more antihistamines to fight the grass allergies, which in turn may help fight whatever the hell I have.  I don't know.  Guess I will have to wait until tomorrow to see what's next.

Thanks for the support.
Avatar universal
Well, I went to for the appt Friday.  Guess what?  Another round of "I can't see anything wrong with you"...He dismissed my biopsy and said I should go back to my ENT for further follow up.  Ironically, this was the first day in almost 3 months that my glands weren't swollen!  Like taking your car to a mechanic only to have it run perfectly.  This is very frustrating.  I don't know whether to be happy that he didn't see any reason for a biopsy, or be frustrated that he didn't pursue it.  He did say that if my glands went down it was a sure sign there wasn't any cancer.  If it was cancer, the glands would remain swollen regardless of treatment.  I haven't researched this enough to know if he was telling the whole truth or not, but it gives me hope.  Maybe someone here can give me some insight that have experienced it first hand.

Overall I am feeling better.  I have very minor and occasional flare ups of my lower abdominal pain, and the testicle pain appears to have completely gone away.  Also, sometimes I can feel the lump in my throat and other times it is not there.  The day after my visit my glands were swollen again under my jawline...go figure.  I will wait and see how I progress this week to determine if I visit another ENT and spend more money.  
Avatar universal
Okay, been a while since I posted.  I have been on a roller coaster ride the last 3, almost 4 months.  I have recently been seeing an ENT about my swollen glands.  As of the last visit, I had another CT of my sinuses and still have a little bit of sinus infection and over 25 pollyps in my sinus cavity that he said are caused by allergies.  He said this will definitely cause the glands to swell.

Since my last visit a couple weeks ago he put me on Cipro and Prednisone, again.  For the last week or so I have had nagging soreness in my neck along both sides and in the back of my neck, but kinda deep inside.  Night before last I was feeling around my neck to see if the glands were spreading and I felt a lump above my collar bone on the right side.  Yesterday it was hurting all day, and today both sides of my collar bone have golf ball size swelling where the hollow spot is on your collar bone.  They don't hurt and are soft, but you can actually see the swelling.  This is worrying me because everything I have read says that if you get swelling above the collar bone it usually means something major is happening.  However, with all the other glands in my neck under my ears and jawline being swollen, I'm just wondering if it is just more infection spreading.  I have been to three docs and had discussions about the possibility of cancer, but all of them said that's not what this is.  How can they be so certain?  One of them, a surgeon who I had been referred to for a biopsy, denied the biopsy and told me it wasn't cancer so he wasn't gonna waste his time or my money to biopsy.  He told me to see an ENT.  The ENT agreed because the glands would go down then back up.  They both said if it was cancer they would grow and NOT go down.

I'm so sick of all this.  I'm looking for anybody with similar problems that can give me some insight.  I'm scheduled to go back to the ENT next Friday (not tomorrow), but I don't know if I should wait or seek other help immediately with the sudden swelling above my collar bone.

Any advice?
Avatar universal
Well, I called my ENT this morning to see if I needed to refill my Cipro and continue on it.  They asked me if I was getting better and I told them not really and mentioned the swelling I had for the last couple days above my collar bone.  They freaked and said I needed to get there as soon as possible today.

I did as instructed and when the doc examined me he felt the supraclavicular nodes.  He said he wasn't too worried about them right now and had another CT scan done to compare my progress from my last visit.  The sinus infection had cleared up to almost gone, but still had a little.  However, the allergy pollyps were still there and showed no change at all despite the prednisone.  He told me to continue on the Cipro for two more weeks and come back.  He also said to stop the Prednisone because it wasn't doing any good.  If my glands aren't gone when I go back he wants to do a biopsy just to rule it out.  With all the treatment I have had over the last few months I don't think two more weeks will change anything.  I just hope the biopsy is negative.

As I type this, the muscles in my neck are hurting and the "new" nodes are inflamed.  They were down this morning, but seem to grow as the day goes on.  At least I'm not dizzy anymore, but I worry what the next symptoms will be... I just wish I could find an answer as to what is wrong with me.  I'm getting real tired of feeling this way.  There are too many other people with similar symtoms and no answers.  Is it a new disease that hasn't been identified that we all have?  HIV started out that way years ago...just saying.
Avatar universal
A week later, and another week before I go back to the ENT, and my neck still hurts and I have bilateral swelling above my collar bone.  I still have the glands under jawline as well.  What I can't understand is Xanax seems to be the only thing that will relieve the pain in my neck, and also seems to decrease the size of my lymph nodes.  I know I have been stressed a lot the last few months but there is something else going on with my body.  It may be worsened by stress, but stress IS NOT my underlying condition.  The Cipro doesn't seem to be helping anything except maybe the sinus infection.  My supraclavicular nodes also get worse when I strain or exercise, and go down when at rest.

I've posted to this thread a few times and nobody will give me any insight.  Can someone please tell me if glands that flucuate in size be caused by cancer such as lymphoma or Hodgkins?  I thought that if it was cancer they would swell and NOT go back down, not even a little.  I'm thinking about having another complete STD check just to see, or at least rule out things such as HIV and latent Syphillis.  Anybody?
Avatar universal
I don't think you are dealing with any cancer.  Glands don't fluctuate in size when you dealing with cancer.  Sounds infectious to me.  

I would consult an ID (Infectious Disease) Specialist.
Avatar universal
Its most likely not cancer your just as likely to get cancer if u dont dip as if u do the baseline in every 100,000 is 3.4 so I wouldn't worry its very unlikely to be cancer
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