First of all I want to thank you immensely for the encouraging reply. I want you to know that I found a great deal of comfort in knowing that even if I do have cancer, there is at least a pretty good chance that I caught it fairly early and I think I read somewhere that the cure rate for early detection of sqaumous cell carcinomas of the oral cavity are somewhere between 80-90%.
A little bit about me. I am aged 40, Male and I dipped snuff for 22 years. I was also an alcoholic and chain-smoker for a year and a half because of some pretty bad stress that was occurring in my life at the time. These two habits, I quit over a year ago thank's to God's help (I was REALLY addicted!).
It seems that from what I have read since yesterday and from what your telling me that a false negative is a diagnosis that results when not enough of the infectious material is found to make a conclusive diagnosis. For example, a false negative for HIV might occurr if the test was taken before enough antibodies could be made to provide a conclusive result. Is this pretty much the way it works?.
You mention leukoplakia and that is exactly what I do have. I had a small patch on the lower-left gingiva (way in the back near the hinge of my jaw) and another one that started out as a canker-type sore but which later turned into a firm, white patch on the upper-right buccal mucosa. The former, I had for 2 years. The latter, for about 2 months.
My symptoms began with mildly swollen lymph nodes under the jaw for which I was prescribed an antibiotic by my general practicioner. I read that with oral cancer, these lymph nodes can become swollen and so I got into the bad habit of feeling them all the time which may have produced the swelling (I don't know). I also began to notice the leukoplakia was becoming more and more irritated and almost seemed to be sending white "tentacles" out under the surface which was pretty scary!. I have been having those unexplained headaches/neckaches which are mild but worriesome. Finally, these little cold-sores kept popping up in various places in my mouth. They would pop up and then be gone the next day.
I will see the ENT again next week and I am hoping he will do more biopsies, remove these things completely, do an endoscopy or something besides just tell me to "wait and watch". So far he seems like a very good doctor and I have received thorough and professional treatment.
Well, I guess I'll close for now. You have been very helpful and I appreciate it. The patients where you work are indeed very lucky to have someone like you who is both caring and knowledgable!