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Thread: Could my toothache be cancer?

  1. #1
    Moderator Top User HighlanderCFH's Avatar
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    Could my toothache be cancer?

    Howdy,

    Having had prostate cancer surgery in 2011, I have a natural fear of getting any other type of cancer even though I am supposedly cured from the PC.

    On Sunday and Monday, my upper molar area started getting kind of itchy and very sensitive to heat or cold. Yesterday, it kind of singled out one of my molars which suddenly became extremely painful if pressed on and the gum appears to be swollen. As far as I can tell, there are no cavities in this tooth, so I'm trying to figure out how it could have become infected like that.

    It is throbbing most of the time and it is difficult to eat.

    I called the dentist and I go in to see him late this afternoon. They said he will probably take an xray to determine what is wrong.

    The thing that scares me is whether these symptoms might also be the signs of cancer in the jawbone and not a problem with the tooth at all. I'm pretty scared of having an abcessed tooth extracted, but the thought of it being something much more serious, like cancer, scares the heck out of me.

    Does anyone think this is unlikely to be any type of cancer and is very likely to be just a tooth going bad? My mind is playing tricks with me at the moment.

    Thanks,
    Chuck
    July 2011 local PSA lab reading 6.41 (from 4.1 in 2009). Mayo Clinic PSA 9/ 2011 = 5.7.
    Local uro DRE revealed significant BPH, no lumps.
    PCa Dx Aug. 2011 age of 61.
    Biopsy DXd adenocarcinoma in 3/20 cores (one 5%, two 20%). T2C.
    Gleason 3+3=6. CT abdomen, bone scan negative.
    DaVinci prostatectomy 11/1/11 at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), nerve sparing, age 62.
    Surgeon was Dr. Matthew Tollefson, who I highly recommend.
    Final pathology shows tumor confined to prostate.
    5 lymph nodes, seminal vesicules, extraprostatic soft tissue all negative.
    1.0 x 0.6 x 0.6 cm mass involving right posterior inferior, right posterior apex & left
    mid posterior prostate. Right posterior apex margin involved by tumor over 0.2 cm length,
    doctor says this is insignificant.
    Prostate 98 grams, tumor 2 grams.
    Catheter out in 7 days. No incontinence, minor dripping for a few weeks.
    Five annual post-op exams 2012 through 2016: PSA <0.1
    Semi-firm erections 5 years post-op whenever the moon turns blue.

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
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    Hey Chuck:

    I can not say what it is or isn't but what I can say is, I have very healthy gums and teeth. About a year ago, one of my molars became sensitive and the gums above it inflamed. It was extremely painful. What my dentist found was a abscess. I asked how did that happen when I do take good care of my teeth. She had no idea other than "it happens" and offered some ideas. Possibly I bit down on something hard and small piece of food got lodged up in the gum. Anyway, I was put on a strong course of antibiotics which seemed to settle everything. Once the infection was cleared up, she did find the tooth had a small crack and therefore a root canal and crown was done.

    A toothache can drive you nuts so best to get it looked at. Hoping it is nothing other than a bad tooth Chuck. Let us know how it goes.

    Lisa

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    Chuck, my bet would be on an abscess, not cancer. The noise is something that can definitely play mind games on us when it raises its ugly head. It seems, in your case, that it is in full force at the moment.

    I think you will feel much better once the dentist sees you as he will almost certainly addresss your worries with a straightforward diagnosis. Good luck with it and let us know how thing go for you. Sending good thoughts your way.

    Good health,

    kermica

  4. #4
    Moderator Top User HighlanderCFH's Avatar
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    Thank you, Lisa,

    Sounds very much like with me. I take very good care of my teeth & have not even had a cavity as an adult. I'm hoping that it is only something like this and that maybe the tooth might also be spared.

    Thanks again!
    Chuck
    July 2011 local PSA lab reading 6.41 (from 4.1 in 2009). Mayo Clinic PSA 9/ 2011 = 5.7.
    Local uro DRE revealed significant BPH, no lumps.
    PCa Dx Aug. 2011 age of 61.
    Biopsy DXd adenocarcinoma in 3/20 cores (one 5%, two 20%). T2C.
    Gleason 3+3=6. CT abdomen, bone scan negative.
    DaVinci prostatectomy 11/1/11 at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), nerve sparing, age 62.
    Surgeon was Dr. Matthew Tollefson, who I highly recommend.
    Final pathology shows tumor confined to prostate.
    5 lymph nodes, seminal vesicules, extraprostatic soft tissue all negative.
    1.0 x 0.6 x 0.6 cm mass involving right posterior inferior, right posterior apex & left
    mid posterior prostate. Right posterior apex margin involved by tumor over 0.2 cm length,
    doctor says this is insignificant.
    Prostate 98 grams, tumor 2 grams.
    Catheter out in 7 days. No incontinence, minor dripping for a few weeks.
    Five annual post-op exams 2012 through 2016: PSA <0.1
    Semi-firm erections 5 years post-op whenever the moon turns blue.

  5. #5
    Moderator Top User HighlanderCFH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Highland, Indiana
    Posts
    5,325
    Thank you, Kermica.

    Very much appreciated!! I'll let you guys know later what happens.

    Chuck
    July 2011 local PSA lab reading 6.41 (from 4.1 in 2009). Mayo Clinic PSA 9/ 2011 = 5.7.
    Local uro DRE revealed significant BPH, no lumps.
    PCa Dx Aug. 2011 age of 61.
    Biopsy DXd adenocarcinoma in 3/20 cores (one 5%, two 20%). T2C.
    Gleason 3+3=6. CT abdomen, bone scan negative.
    DaVinci prostatectomy 11/1/11 at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), nerve sparing, age 62.
    Surgeon was Dr. Matthew Tollefson, who I highly recommend.
    Final pathology shows tumor confined to prostate.
    5 lymph nodes, seminal vesicules, extraprostatic soft tissue all negative.
    1.0 x 0.6 x 0.6 cm mass involving right posterior inferior, right posterior apex & left
    mid posterior prostate. Right posterior apex margin involved by tumor over 0.2 cm length,
    doctor says this is insignificant.
    Prostate 98 grams, tumor 2 grams.
    Catheter out in 7 days. No incontinence, minor dripping for a few weeks.
    Five annual post-op exams 2012 through 2016: PSA <0.1
    Semi-firm erections 5 years post-op whenever the moon turns blue.

  6. #6
    Administrator Top User lisa1962's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    new york
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    Hi Chuck:

    Just thought I would pop in to see how your dentists appointment went. Hoping things went well.

    Lisa

  7. #7
    Moderator Top User HighlanderCFH's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Thanks to both of you for your nice comments.

    I saw the dentist yesterday and, as I suspected, there are no cavities in the tooth. However, he strongly suspects that there is a microscopic fracture that goes from top to bottom. An x-ray showed a bit of swelling, but no abcess, etc. He gave me an antibiotic to relieve it and hopefully ease the pain.

    But, with the probable fracture, a root canal would not save it and it would eventually have to be pulled. I'm planning on having a really lousy day on Monday because that is when I'm scheduled to visit an oral surgery clinic for the extraction. I'd much rather be asleep for this, but that costs $500 extra. So I'll be forced to be awake as the doctor does all his tugging & pulling. LOL

    But at least it turned out to be nothing like cancer, etc. The dentist said pretty much what yours told you -- these things can happen in spite of the best care we give our teeth. He figures that it must have fractured on Tuesday, which was the day all the pain started.

    At least I'll have this taken care of before driving to Mayo Clinic (6+ hour trip) on Oct. 15. I emailed Mayo about pulling the tooth, but their next opening for an extraction is not until January. LOL

    Thanks again to both of you!
    Chuck
    July 2011 local PSA lab reading 6.41 (from 4.1 in 2009). Mayo Clinic PSA 9/ 2011 = 5.7.
    Local uro DRE revealed significant BPH, no lumps.
    PCa Dx Aug. 2011 age of 61.
    Biopsy DXd adenocarcinoma in 3/20 cores (one 5%, two 20%). T2C.
    Gleason 3+3=6. CT abdomen, bone scan negative.
    DaVinci prostatectomy 11/1/11 at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), nerve sparing, age 62.
    Surgeon was Dr. Matthew Tollefson, who I highly recommend.
    Final pathology shows tumor confined to prostate.
    5 lymph nodes, seminal vesicules, extraprostatic soft tissue all negative.
    1.0 x 0.6 x 0.6 cm mass involving right posterior inferior, right posterior apex & left
    mid posterior prostate. Right posterior apex margin involved by tumor over 0.2 cm length,
    doctor says this is insignificant.
    Prostate 98 grams, tumor 2 grams.
    Catheter out in 7 days. No incontinence, minor dripping for a few weeks.
    Five annual post-op exams 2012 through 2016: PSA <0.1
    Semi-firm erections 5 years post-op whenever the moon turns blue.

  8. #8
    Senior User
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    The Woodlands
    Posts
    157
    I would recommend a second opinion with a dentist with a CBCT machine. A quality machine like the one my company produces and sells through distributors in the USA can give lots of insight into your situation. A standard X-ray, a PA, is wholly insufficient to shed enough light. Yes, a PA may not even show an abcess if there is one. You need to get a CBCT scan with a resolution of less than .1 voxels. The smaller the voxel, the higher the resolution. There are only four manufacturers that produce a unit capable of such resolutions. There may be also imaging centers in your area. Most of the ones I am aware of typically do not have such a quality high resolution scanner.
    PSA 21.9
    5 out of 12 cores positive
    Gleason 7
    Diagnosed 6-3-2015
    CT and Bone Scan Clear
    7-21-15 MDA team meet
    PSA 26.4
    Gleason 7 still but reassessed with two 4+3s instead of just one. Other two at 3+4.
    4 out of 12 now deemed positive
    DaVinci on 8-31-2015
    pT3b
    Prostate and Lymph nodes removed
    Drain bag removed day three, back home day three
    Dr. John Davis Saved 75% on the left and 100% on the right
    6 weeks post op and three months post op, PSA less than 0.1
    Detectable nine months post op at 0.1. Confirmed 6 weeks later with same reading.
    MRI clear.
    Began SRT July 11th, 35 sessions to complete on August 26th.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Top User po18guy's Avatar
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    Pacific NW, USA
    Posts
    6,926
    Chuck, thankfully it is noise. Painful, aggravating noise, but still noise. I have scar tissue in my small intestine where the lymphoma invaded last year. It has been tender lately. Noise. Ugh.
    07/08 Age 56 DX 1) Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma-Not Otherwise Specified. >50 tumors, marrow involvement.
    08/08-12/08 Four cycles CHOEP14 + four cycles GND (Cyclofosfamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, Etoposide, Prednisone & Gemcitabine, Navelbine, Doxil)
    02/09 2) Relapse.
    03/09-06/13 Clinical trial of Romidepsin > long-term study. NED for 64 twenty-eight day cycles, dose tapered.
    07/13 3) Relapse, 4) Suspected Mutation.
    08/13-02/14 Romidepsin increased, stopped for lack of response. Watch & Wait.
    09/14 Relapse/Progression. Visible cervical nodes appear within 4 days of being checked clear.
    10/06/14 One cycle Belinostat. Discontinued to enter second clinical trial.
    10/25/14 Clinical trial of Alisertib/Failed - Progression.
    01/12/15 Belinostat resumed/Failed - Progression. 02/23/15
    02/24/15 Pralatrexate/Failed - Progression. 04/17/15
    04/15 Genomic profiling reveals mutation into PTCL-NOS + AngioImmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma. Two dozen tumors + small intestine (Ileum) involvement.
    04/22/15 TREC (Bendamustine, Etoposide, Carboplatin). Full response in two cycles. PET/CT both clear. Third cycle followed.
    06/15-07/15 Transplant preparation (X-rays, spinal taps, BMB, blood test, MUGA scan, lung function, CMV screening, C-Diff testing etc. etc. etc.) Intrathecal Methotrexate during spinal tap.
    BMB reveals 5) Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow cancer.
    07/11-12/15 Cyclofosfamide + Fludarabine conditioning regimen.
    07/16/15 Total Body Irradiation.
    07/17/15 Haploidentical Allogeneic Transplant receiving my son's peripheral blood stem cells.
    07/21-22/15 Triple dose Cyclofosfamide + Mesna, followed by immunosuppressants Tacrolimus and Mycophenolate Mofetil.
    07/23-08/03/15 Blood nose dive. Fever. Hospitalized two weeks.
    08/04/15 Engraftment official - released from hospital.
    08/13/15 Marrow is 100% donor cells. Platelets climbing steadily, red cells follow.
    09/21/15 Acute skin GvHD arrives. DEXA scan reveals Osteoporosis.
    09/26/-11/03/15 Prednisone to control skin GvHD.
    05/2016 Tacrolimus stopped. Prednisone from 30-90mg daily tried. Sirolimus begun.
    09/16/16 Three skin punch biopsies.
    11/04/16 GvHD clinical trial of Ofatumumab (Arzerra) + Prednisone + Methylprednisolone begun.
    To date: 18 chemotherapeutic drugs in 9 regimens (4 of them at least twice), + 4 immunosuppressant drugs.

    I have been chosen to suffer, therefore, I am blessed. Knowing the redemptive value of suffering makes all the difference.

    "What is faith? It is that which gives substance to our hopes, which convinces us of things we cannot see"
    - Hebrews 11:1

  10. #10
    Moderator Top User HighlanderCFH's Avatar
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    Thanks again to everyone for their information & suggestions.

    The tooth has long been in Heaven now, but I sure still miss it. This same thing happened to the molar next to it way back in the late 1970s. So now I have a big gap where both used to be. I still have my wisdom teeth, including the one next to the two missing molars -- but it is extremely painful for me to bite anything hard with it, so I'm kind of screwed.

    Oh well, I guess things could always be a lot worse. LOL

    Thanks again!
    Chuck
    July 2011 local PSA lab reading 6.41 (from 4.1 in 2009). Mayo Clinic PSA 9/ 2011 = 5.7.
    Local uro DRE revealed significant BPH, no lumps.
    PCa Dx Aug. 2011 age of 61.
    Biopsy DXd adenocarcinoma in 3/20 cores (one 5%, two 20%). T2C.
    Gleason 3+3=6. CT abdomen, bone scan negative.
    DaVinci prostatectomy 11/1/11 at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), nerve sparing, age 62.
    Surgeon was Dr. Matthew Tollefson, who I highly recommend.
    Final pathology shows tumor confined to prostate.
    5 lymph nodes, seminal vesicules, extraprostatic soft tissue all negative.
    1.0 x 0.6 x 0.6 cm mass involving right posterior inferior, right posterior apex & left
    mid posterior prostate. Right posterior apex margin involved by tumor over 0.2 cm length,
    doctor says this is insignificant.
    Prostate 98 grams, tumor 2 grams.
    Catheter out in 7 days. No incontinence, minor dripping for a few weeks.
    Five annual post-op exams 2012 through 2016: PSA <0.1
    Semi-firm erections 5 years post-op whenever the moon turns blue.

 

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