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Old 12-18-2003, 02:37 PM   #1
Hi_its_Joe
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White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Hi

I know I'm posting here more than usual lately but I am having some issues which are causing me quite a bit of concern/anxiety and for which I'm digging for answers on. I prowl these boards pretty regularly offering my own assistance to those I feel I can help so I guess one hand sort of washes the other :-).

Anyway, for months...years...I don't know how long exactly, I have had these small white patches (like plaques or leukoplakia) in two different areas of my gums where I had wisdom teeth pulled a long time ago and also on the inside of my right cheek behind my upper wisdom tooth.

Let me describe these white patches in more detail if I may please. They vary in size, shape, diameter, etc but for the most part, they are small, sort of white patches (more translucent-white to flesh-color-mixed-with-white than solid white) and are somewhat wrinkly when you examine them close-up. One of them appears to have sloughed off (peeled away) just a bit sort of like how your skin peels after you've been in the sun for too long. They are painless and located at the surface level of these areas (ie; they are not lumps, growths, bumps, elevations or tumors). I've had some of them for a few years and others only a few months.

I've looked at a lot of medical pictures online and am trying to keep an open mind about this rather than just freaking out and thinking "..OMG...ORAL CANCER!!!" but I must admit that the imagination can be a very frightening thing. I have chewed smokeless tobacco for 20 years so of course this *could* be cancer but in the pictures I've seen, most oral cancers (even in the early stages) look FAR more hiddeous and much larger and gruesome looking than what I have (I gave myself a very thorough oral examination earlier today in the mirror with a flashlight and examined every nook and cranny from front to back). Needless to say, I have also stopped chewing and have begun using nicotene gum which, incidentally, has helped ease the cravings considerably. I will also be seeing an ENT in 2 weeks (if I'm not 1/2 crazy by then).

I have often heard and read that people who smoke, chew, drink (alcohol) or consume a lot of coffee can develop these white patches and various other sores, etc on the inside of their mouth and I was wondering if anyone here might be able to share their own knowledge with me on this subject so as to hopefully ease my fears and keep me from falling apart (I'm coming close to that point now). I know the words "thank you" sound kind of flakey and cheap but you seriously can't imagine how much I need to be consoled over this right now. Christmas is coming up very soon and it's pretty sad to think I may be sitting there opeing presents with the thought of cancer on my mind :-(

Thank you

Last edited by Hi_its_Joe; 12-18-2003 at 02:52 PM.

 
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Old 12-18-2003, 08:09 PM   #2
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Re: White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Hi Joe
Just read your second post and agree that we chip in and help each other. You have obviously seen pictures of oral cancer (I have too) and I agree that what you have "may" be pre-cancerous but doubt very much if it IS cancer.
That does not mean that the dr will not decide to remove the spots to be on the safe side.
I have been looking at the "Medline" link and that's where I quoted the 3% lekoplakia turning to cancer from. It is a very thorough and informative government link.

Seriously, I looked at my throat with a light at one stage some years ago cause I had a notion that it had far too many tiny redish/pink soft lumps. (Possibly I had a sore throat to start with, I don't remember).
I do remember going to the dr 3 times to press him to have another look. In the end he told me to stop peering at my thoat and get on with things. He said "he" would look out for my throat and let me know if there was a problem.
(I was smoking at the time and I do recall how churned up I was about it).

You have got your appt with the ENT person, so put it aside now and consider that you are very fortunate you are having it looked at BEFORE it has turned nasty cause it really does sound like leukoplakia.
Take some deap breaths and make up your mind that you will truly enjoy the festive season.
Don't do anymore checks now, before you see the dr. You will only scare yourself and that serves no purpose.

 
Old 12-18-2003, 08:34 PM   #3
Hi_its_Joe
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Re: White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Hi Bassie and thank's for your kind and encouraging reply.

I too read that the incidence of leukoplakia becoming dyplastic and subsequently, malignant was only 3% which was quite encouraging, not to mention one heck of a wake-up call!. I sure am glad I quit before I had huge, bloody tumors growing from the side of my face or something. Some of those pictures and horror stories I read were enough to make even the most hardened "tough guy" pee his pants in fear.

While I'm no doctor and cannot recommend medications, I can tell you that from my own personal experience that nicotene gum makes an excellent smoking/chewing tobacco cessation adjunct and has been very affective in my particular case (for those of you who would like to try quitting). Looking at autopsy photos of people who have died from chewing smokeless tobacco is an even better way to convince yourself to quit.

Thank's again

 
Old 12-18-2003, 08:44 PM   #4
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nyxin HB Usernyxin HB Usernyxin HB User
Re: White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi_its_Joe
Hi Bassie and thank's for your kind and encouraging reply.

I too read that the incidence of leukoplakia becoming dyplastic and subsequently, malignant was only 3% which was quite encouraging, not to mention one heck of a wake-up call!. I sure am glad I quit before I had huge, bloody tumors growing from the side of my face or something. Some of those pictures and horror stories I read were enough to make even the most hardened "tough guy" pee his pants in fear.

While I'm no doctor and cannot recommend medications, I can tell you that from my own personal experience that nicotene gum makes an excellent smoking/chewing tobacco cessation adjunct and has been very affective in my particular case (for those of you who would like to try quitting). Looking at autopsy photos of people who have died from chewing smokeless tobacco is an even better way to convince yourself to quit.

Thank's again
hello joe,
i wanted to play devils advocate for some reason to let you know that it is not really the tobacco that causes cancer, it is the nicotine. chewing nicotine gum has just as many canserous chemicals, if not more than chewing tobacco. it sounds like it is more of an oral thing with you. i would try the nicotine patch and regular chewing gum to help, but get the chemicals as far away from your mouth as you can. you are just replacing one vice with another. i commend you on your effort to quit and get healthy, but the only way is to get rid of nicotine for good. i smoked for only 9 years, but it was hard as hell to quit. i hope your mouth is ok, i don't know what to say about that, but seriously, try to give it a break.

 
Old 12-18-2003, 09:06 PM   #5
Hi_its_Joe
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Re: White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyxin
hello joe,
i wanted to play devils advocate for some reason to let you know that it is not really the tobacco that causes cancer, it is the nicotine. chewing nicotine gum has just as many canserous chemicals, if not more than chewing tobacco. it sounds like it is more of an oral thing with you. i would try the nicotine patch and regular chewing gum to help, but get the chemicals as far away from your mouth as you can. you are just replacing one vice with another. i commend you on your effort to quit and get healthy, but the only way is to get rid of nicotine for good. i smoked for only 9 years, but it was hard as hell to quit. i hope your mouth is ok, i don't know what to say about that, but seriously, try to give it a break.
Hi and thank's for the reply. I did some reading up on this because of what you said and discovered that the nicotine itself is not directly carcinogenic but that it can cause the release of nitrosomines which are highly carcinogenic. I went on to read that the amount of nicotine in the gum is relatively small and much safer than either cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Nicotine gum also does not contain the many dangerous additives found in other tobacco products (ie; mercury, lead, radioactive nucleotides, formalahyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide - to name just a fraction of them). All in all, I would have to say that, at least as a temporary solution, it is much safer than either chewing or smoking. However, as you rightly point out, it is certainly no panacea

- Me

Last edited by Hi_its_Joe; 12-18-2003 at 09:44 PM.

 
Old 12-18-2003, 09:57 PM   #6
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nyxin HB Usernyxin HB Usernyxin HB User
Re: White patches in mouth & gums. What is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi_its_Joe
Hi and thank's for the reply. I did some reading up on this because of what you said and discovered that the nicotine itself is not directly carcinogenic but that it can cause the release of nitrosomines which are highly carcinogenic. I went on to read that the amount of nicotine in the gum is relatively small and much safer than either cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Nicotine gum also does not contain the many dangerous additives found in other tobacco products (ie; mercury, lead, radioactive nucleotides, formalahyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide - to name just a fraction of them). All in all, I would have to say that, at least as a temporary solution, it is much safer than either chewing or smoking. However, as you rightly point out, it is certainly no panacea

- Me

hey there,
i think that the nicotine theory is still up for debate, but despite that you do have to admit that you are still putting chemicals into your mouth that may cause some pretty nasty ***** to happen. the only reason i am so adimit about this is because i became deathly ill with a colon infection 6 weeks after my son was born. the particular infection or "disease" that i had was called typhlitis and it has a 50-100% mortality rate. the doctors did not know how i got it, but i was in very bad shape. my poor husband was faced with loosing his wife and to raise his son alone. i realized so much in that illness stupor. i think maybe the secret of life.....you dont know what you have untill it's gone sums it up quite well. that was only in august, i am still recovering. i hope you are ok.....big hug to you.

 
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