Medical Q&As

Jaw swelling - won't see GP?

My mother has had facial swelling on and off for the last year, usually around her jaw, and concentrated to one side of her face. This usually peaks for about a day and then takes a few days to die down. She refuses to go to the doctor about this and I'm concerned that this could be a serious problem. Any advice?

It is always difficult for relatives to cope when a family member steadfastly refuses to seek medical attention. On a positive note it is unlikely that your motherís problem is a serious one since the swelling is intermittent and of short duration. In contrast, sinister swellings tend to be persistent and progressive and tend to give rise to additional symptoms over time. The range of possible causes for your motherís facial swelling is very wide and could range from dental related swellings to intermittent enlargement of the salivary or lymphatic glands. There is no universal cure for such a diverse range of diagnoses. I see no option other than your mother attending her GP to have the matter assessed. In the meantime it might be useful to explore with her the reasons for her refusal to seek medical attention. She may have a particular fear or expectation of what the doctor might do. It may be possible for you to allay some of these fears for her. It might also be useful to alert her doctor to the problem if your mother were due to visit the doctor for some unrelated reason in the near future.