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Booneville, AR
A 23-year-old male asked:

i have been freaking out about oral cancer. now, whenever anything happens to me, i think it is cancer. now my glands are swollen and the one on the left is bigger. what shouldi do?

5 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joel Doyon
Cosmetic Dentistry 36 years experience
Stop tobacco : Oral cancer usually does not have swollen glands. Swollen glands are usually a sign of an infection that the body is fighting by producing more white blood cells. The best thing you can do to reduce the risk of oral cancer is stop all tobacco products, especially dip. The dip is very irritating to the oral tissues and can lead to oral cancer.
Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 23 years experience
Lymph node: Swollen lymph nodes can be caused by many things like- infection ( most common ) from the mouth/throat; inflammation -( trauma, irritation, other systemic inflammation); autoimmune problems, malignancy etc. You are afraid of oral cancer because you chew tobacco. Don't let your life overwhelmed by fear- stop chewing tobacco, avoid alcohol. If lymph nodes still big >6 weeks-go to see your md.
Dr. Reid Blackwelder
Family Medicine 37 years experience
Be seen: Be seen but not because of this being serious necessarily. I would want to sit down and ask for more info about why you are concerned about oral cancer, and to give you good information about your true risk. Many things can cause swollen glands and almost all are benign and temporary. But you are obviously very worried, so go get good info to balance the fear!
Dr. Gustavo Ruiz de Castilla
Periodontics 32 years experience
Tender glands: Chewing tobacco would certainly put you at a much higher risk of getting oral cancer. The lymph nodes ("glands") that are swollen bilaterally may indicate the presence of an infection in the area particularly if they are tender. I would suggest you go and visit your dentist to rule out an infection, oral cancer, or other pathology in your mouth particularly where you usually place the wad of tobac.
Dr. Talib Najjar
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 8 years experience
Viral infection: If it is not viral , lymphoma should be included in the differental diagnosis.

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Last updated May 7, 2016

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