3/6/2014 Update: When I wrote this post back in 2011 I had NO IDEA so many other people would be searching for this same problem. I just wanted to give you guys an update- It’s almost three years later, and my cyst is the same size (quarter inch), and still hangs annoyingly in the back of my mouth, about a half inch to the right of my uvula. I poke at it with my tongue when I’m bored in meetings, and it can move around a little bit. Anyways, all this is to say, it’s still there, same size, and it’s still not cancer. Probably just a blocked salivary duct. If you’re really worried about a lump in the back of your throat, please please please go to an Ear Nose Throat doctor! Your health and peace of mind is worth it!
I know that I mentioned my minor health complications (and corresponding mini depression) to close friends a few weeks back, but now that it’s over, I thought I would share the whole neurotic story with the internet. Who knows, maybe somebody in the same situation will find it and be less freaked out by reading a similar story.
About a month and a half ago I noticed a small lump in the back of my throat, quite close to my uvula (I almost typed in “hangy thing that hangs in the back of your throat” 🙂 ). Well of course I instantly thought THROAT CANCER! and started poking at it with my finger. Then I remembered that I’m a hypochondriac and I let it go. Gotta keep the crazy at bay.
A few days later my monthly copy of Cosmopolitan came in (it was a present, don’t judge), and guess what was this month’s freaky health story? It was oral cancer! According to Cosmo, women in my age range are making up almost 25% of new oral cancer diagnoses, and it’s credited to rise in STD infections in the mouth (oral sex, duh). Nevermind that the annual # of new oral cancer diagnoses is about 1,200, and I had a VERY low chance of being one of those 300 women… I felt anxious.
I then proceeded to fall into a downward spiral of thought pattern that fellow hypochondriacs will understand all too well. I became slightly obsessed. In my spare time I conducted Google image searches, stared deeply into a mirror with my mouth wide open, read random health message boards and showed disinterested friends my throat… Oh it was bad.
Anyways. Weeks passed, and a wave of flu-like sickness passed through my house. My throat lump got bigger. I had a bright red sore throat and developed canker sore like ulcerations in the back of my throat. It was gross. I finally went to the doctor.
My GP addressed my flu symptoms and told me to come back if my throat lump was still there after my flu passed. The flu passed, and yet the lump was still there. I went back to the doctor, finally scoring a referral to an Ear/Nose/Throat guy. After checking my ENT’s credentials on Yelp I was a bit nervous, because his headshot was so unflattering. Does that sound bad? He just didn’t look very nurturing, more like Frankenstein.
It turned out that “Dr. E.” was actually a very kind specialist, who put me quite at ease (he was rather touchy, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). He really didn’t do too much- he just took a look, sprayed some numbing spray on the back of my throat, and tried to pop my bump open with a syringe… Only a little painful!
His verdict: “It’s not cancer. If it was cancer it would be eating through your throat right now. It would look like a herpes sore in the back of your mouth.”
AAAAAAAAAAA! Quite a visual! So, no oral cancer. But I do have a benign “lump thing” in the back of my throat! It could be a blocked salivary gland, it could be virus related… he wasn’t really sure. Basically I’m just supposed to live with it. If it gets bigger I will go back for “minor” surgery to have it cut out. That is an unpleasant thought, but whatever.
Anyways, I’m fine now, but out $$$ from all the doctor visits. I suppose it was worth it just to learn this fun factoid: My tonsils are 3x larger than the average human tonsil. I am a freak. My ENT suggests that I get them cut out as well, since my future husband will probably be bothered by my snoring….