Oncology Questions? Ask an Oncologist for Answers ASAP
It's hard to say based only on this picture, but this does not appear to be neoplastic. A lymphoid polyp would be a consideration, as the lymphatic tissue there may enlarge and shrink depending on what organisms it is exposed to. Other less likley possibilites would be a mucocele or leukoplakia, a thickened, white patch that sometimes forms (especially in smokers) on the gums, the insides of the cheeks, or the base of the mouth. These types of things will often regress on their own over the course of weeks or months. Anything that doesn't, or that grows in size, should be examined promptly, of course.
There is a lot of lymphoid tissue present throughout the oropharynx, especially in and around the tonsils. That said, the appearance is non-specific, but benign...can't say for sure that it wasn't triggered by HPV but there are over one hundred strains of HPV and very few of them are associated with OP cancer. Even when we do get one of these strains, they don't always cause cancer. We may clear the virus completely or it can linger for awhile without leading to cancer....as there are other factors involved in cancer genesis including other risk factors (e.g. smoking) and the strength of the immune system.
I agree that it appears benign, though pictures don't tell the whole story of course. I can say that I see these types of irregular growths from time to time and they almost never turn out to be anything worrisome. The only way to know for sure would be to show it to your doctor or dentist and have a biopsy done if suspicion remains after examining it.
Sure. It could also be a mucosal skin tag or retention cyst or hyperplastic polyp. Most causes are benign. It would be important to monitor it over time ("watchful waiting") and let your doctors know about any changes. You might actually notice it start to regress within a few weeks or months.