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Oral Cancer

What Could a Bump on the Tongue Be and Should it be Checked out?

11/06/2007

Question:

I have a bump on the top right side of my tongue towards the front third. It`s been there for about a month and a half. I first thought it was just an irritated tastebud or that I bit my tongue, and it never hurt. It has also grown bigger to about 3mm. The bump is peduncular - like it`s on a stalk. I know it`s not a typical presentation for an oral cancer, but do you know what it could be and should I get it checked out? It just bothers me because I end up playing with it since it`s toward the front of my mouth. Thanks!

Answer:

If the surface of the bump is smooth, it probably is a fibroma, which is basically a lump of scar tissue. If the surface is more uneven, with little projections, it is probably a papilloma, which is a first-cousin to a wart. Both of these are quite common and harmless, but a lot of people will seek the care of an oral surgeon in order to have them removed for exactly the reason you are describing.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University