How to Spot a Granular Cell Tumor

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Bumps and lumps are a pretty common occurrence in the mouth — just ask anyone who's accidentally bitten the inside of their cheek or lip. Many of these bumps will heal on their own, but if you notice a lump that gets bigger over time or doesn't go away, it's time to visit a dentist.

One possible cause of a lump is a granular cell tumor. Also known as an Abrikossoff tumor, this growth can affect any area of the body, but the head and neck regions account for approximately from 45 to 65 percent of occurrences, says Head and Neck Pathology. A granular cell tumor may occur on sites such as the skin, tongue and hard palate. The tumor is considered benign, but a malignancy occurs occasionally. According to a report from V.S.P.M.'s Dental College and Research Centre, these tumors are typically small, solitary lesions and rarely exceed 3 centimeters in size. They often have an irregular shape and border, a fleshy appearance and are usually yellow-gray in color.

Who Is More at Risk?

Though occurrences are rare, when granular cell tumors do appear they are usually seen in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 years, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health. Both males and females can be affected by this type of tumor, although it's more common in women and is more commonly seen in African Americans, according to the World Journal of Clinical Cases.

Causes and Treatment

Unfortunately, there aren't any known methods to prevent this tumor from occurring. Though the cause is debated, the Journal of Medical Case Reports points out that the growth may be appear because of an altered metabolism of cells. After a biopsy to confirm the type of tumor, the treatment often includes complete surgical removal, which is usually curative. Though treatment involves removal, sometimes a growth does recur, says a report from the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery.

Though most of these tumors are often benign, it's best to see your dental health professional at least twice a year for your oral health care checkup. Routine and careful evaluation during a regular dental visit is very important. This way, if anything arises that might turn into something more serious, your dentist can catch it early and help you seek the proper treatment.

Always make certain you're brushing two to three times a day and flossing daily as part of your preventive health care regimen. Utilizing a silica toothpaste like Colgate Total® Advanced Deep Clean Toothpaste can help get rid of plaque that can cause gingivitis and dental caries. Early detection is key, so visit your dentist regularly for a healthy, happy smile!

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