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Date of last update: 10/21/2017.

Forum Name: Head and Neck Cancer

Question: Salivary Gland cancer? Lump on Roof of mouth & behind ear

 klm010210 - Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:09 pm

Hello – Please assist me with my question. I’m a 40 year old woman with a lump on the left side of the hard pallet on the roof of my mouth for at least four years. It is not unusual in color or texture. It’s almost impossible to feel it with my finger, but it is definantly felt with my tongue. I have been to my GP twice and a Maxillofacial Doctor who told me it was just swelling of the saliva gland. The issue is that the lump is always there. It does not change with eating or drinking. Most recently I had a lump on the left side of my neck which the doctor said was swelling of the artery (common in smokers).He also looked at my throat which he said was fine. In addition to that, for the past 3 weeks I have experiend pain under the left side of my tongue, and under my chin toward the back of the throat. Today I noticed a lump about two inches behind my ear at the hairline, again on the left side.

I’m very concerned that this is cancer. I have been to three different doctors and a dentist. I feel because Doctors do not see a growth and it’s difficult to feel with a finger, they don’t believe me. After anxiously waiting for appointments, I leave the office with the same concerns I had before entering. This has caused me so much concern and anxiety. The stress of thinking the worst is affecting me. Do you feel that these lumps and issues are related in any way? If these lumps are not cancer, can you please tell me what they may be? If there is any other possibilty I would like to know for peace of mind.

Please help with you r insight and expertise. Thank you in advance for your advice!
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:59 pm

User avatar Hi,
Your situation appears to be highly unusual.There can be no dispute that the tongue is a very sensitive organ(perhaps more sensitive than the tip of one's finger).However,if a swelling is definitely palpable by your tongue, an experienced doctor would most likely feel it.

Lumps in the hard palate are always viewed with suspicion(because it is the commonest site for a minor salivary gland tumors- most of which in this location are malignant).

The hard palate could be imaged by a CT or an MRI scan.

The lump behind your ear could be a post-auricular lymph node.Your doctor sould be able to guide you (after examining you) if the node needs to be subjected to an FNAB(fine needle aspiration biopsy) or an open biopsy.
Best wishes!

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