A painful lump on the side of the tongue that comes and goes could be a number of things. It is difficult to give you an exact diagnosis because you have not said what the lump looks like, and I am unable to examine it myself.
If the lump comes and goes, it would be unlikely to be oral cancer (because cancer does not go away on its own and is rare), so I would not be worrying about that. It could be an inflamed taste bud, a blocked salivary gland, an ulcer or an infection.
I would recommend that you show it to your doctor or dentist who can have a look at it and give you a diagnosis.
Answered by Dr Emmajane Down.
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