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Hi folks,

Predictably enough I'm complaining of general ENT discomfort. Sorry about the epic post here but I haven't mentioned this to anyone else! I'm just wondering if these symptoms sound consistent or if I should be worrying, so, here we go!

For about 4 or 5 months now I've been getting increasingly noticeable sensations on the left side of my throat.

I'm male, a smoker (maybe 15 a day for about 15 years), 39, and I drink pretty regularly.

The symptoms are mostly on the left: a feeling of something trapped back under my tongue; a slight "dullness" or pressure release if i push up on the left gland; persistent left-sided earache; dry throat; occasional thick, burning tongue (but that's mostly after smoking heavily on a night out).

I ocassionally get pangs, again on the left, in that soft spot above the collarbone, below the shoulder muscle.

And the history: Early last November I went to a GP after noticing a sensation in my mouth, under my tongue. I told him I had general pain in the left side of my mouth, he said I had an inflamed tonsil and gave me antibiotics, but they didn't help.

I was at the dentist a few weeks later (end of November) and told him I thought I had a mouth ulcer. He checked and said I had: "a long grey ulcer". He told me not to worry about it and to come back in the New Year.

In early December, I woke up with pains around my adams apple - I presume referred pain - and went back to the dentist. This time it was a female dentist and she said she saw a small red mouth ulcer right at the back of my mouth, but that it was insignificant. She told me I could get referred to a private consultant if I would pay. I said OK. It would be a month before I could see the consultant though.

A few weeks later (third week of December) I got a very bad earache, and this was new, and I decided I had to get this addressed or the holiday period would be ruined by my worrying. So I went to a local dental hospital and got examined in an A&E. The dentist told me he could find no issues at all.

At last in January I saw the private consultant that I was referred to. He said that the original dentist's finding of a "long grey ulcer" was actually a vein but that the female dentist had indeed spotted a little red pimple under my tongue. He told me it was probably nothing and to apply some prescribed salve onto it and take a local anaesthetic for the pain. He examined my neck and found no lumps or anything.

I went back to him two weeks ago as the salve hadn't helped. He examined me again and said he was pretty sure I don't have cancer, but that the spot was unexplained and that I should get it removed under general anaesthetic. He said he had around a 2% doubt, that it didn't alarm him, he "didn't want me to jump under a bus or anything, but let's be careful here" :-). I asked him about the earache and the gland pain and he said, "lets take care of the ulcer first". (He is a professor of oral medicine.)

He also told me (as I was being referred back to the public health system ) that it could take many months to get this resolved.

As I type, I have an earache (as usual) and I can sense the ulcer under my tongue. I also have a sore throat and a pain in my adam's apple. Often, if I lean my head to the left, I am aware of my left gland (this doesn't happen on the right). All these pains are mild, they're not like real tonsilitis or proper earache, they're completely tolerable, and they come and go.

Anyway, I have heard nothing from the health service since, and I suppose I won't for a while. In the meantime, when the pain and discomfort flares up, it is extremely disconcerting and alarming and distracting and upsetting.

I haven't spoken to anyone about this as my family is going through a tough time at the moment with genuine illness elsewhere. But I'm afraid, and I have been for months now.

I know that time is of the essence in cancer cases and I'm worried that it's ticking by. On the other hand, I have seen a doctor, three dentists and a professor and they've all downplayed the situation. Yet the discomfort is persisting and is getting more frequent, and there is a real ulcer which I will eventually get removed. I realise there are probably benign reasons for ulcers, but when the pain visits my ear or throat, it's a real real worry.

So - that's my story...! Does anyone have any advice? Should I be beating down the door to the GP and trying everything to get seen? And, (and I know you can't answer this but it's the million dollar question!), am I dying?!

Thanks a million if you've read this far! I'm glad I got this off my chest!

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Hi again,

I just re-read that and I thought of a couple of useful background facts...

There is no history of cancer in my family, I'm hetero and going out with the same girl (faithfully!!) for ten years, and my mother has GERD.

Just thought I'd throw those in there... Thanks again!
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Heavy smoking and drinking do increase the risk of throat cancer. The specialist you need to see is an otolaryngologist.
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Thanks hoseclamps. I went to the GP today and got an appointment with an ENT specialist for mid-March.

Thanks again.
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Just an update on this. I ended out getting a general anaesthetic at the end of the summer and the surgeon found a vocal polyp on my larynx. It is a completely benign condition. He removed it and I've been fine since. So it's not always terminal!
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