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"I have a lump attached to my jaw. What could it be?"


I'm worried because in the middle of my jaw is a really hard, non moveable lump. It's been there for a month and at first I thought it was a bruise. But I've noticed it slowly gets bigger and harder and harder. At this point it feels attached to the bone. It's rock hard and does not move and hurts when pressure is applied. My throat doesn't hurt. I quit smoking a week ago. I'm not sick haven't been sick an am not getting sick. But the more this lump grows the more pressure almost it feels when I yawn and such. I'm just worried because it does not move what so ever and isn't exactly where a lymph node is. What could it be?


I recommend that you speak with your doctor soon. The first concern that I have when a patient describes symptoms like that is that this could be a cancer. While there are many possible explanations, any tumor (growth, swelling) of the head and neck in an adult patient, especially one with a history of smoking or other tobacco use, should be considered to be a cancer until proven otherwise.

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Many of the tumors of the head and neck will start as firm swellings in a specific body part. They will then become larger and will eventually begin to compromise function. Additionally, this can spread to other parts of the body, especially in the neck. This can be noted by swelling that can happen in other sites in the neck, often in predictable drainage basins. Your doctor will be able to help explain all of this in more detail, and he or she may feel that it is necessary to obtain a biopsy in order to determine what the next step in treatment should be. While a cancer is a concern, infections can also present in a similar fashion, and often respond very well to antibiotics. The sooner the treatment begins, the better the outcome is likely to be with either. Please speak with your doctor.

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