Tongue cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tongue, the small, movable muscle in your mouth that you use for chewing and swallowing. Cancer can develop in any part of the tongue, but it most commonly occurs on the side closest to the back of the throat (the base of the tongue).
It hampers chewing and swallowing and is also important for speaking. Tongue cancer is more common in men than in women, and it is most often diagnosed in people over age 50.
Tongue cancer is relatively rare, accounting for about 2 percent of all cancers of the head and neck region. However, incidence rates have been increasing over the past few decades, likely due to increased tobacco and alcohol use.
Tongue cancer usually starts as a small growth or sore on the tongue that does not go away. If left untreated, tongue cancer can spread to other parts of the mouth and throat, as well as to other parts of the body.
While tongue cancer can be deadly, it is highly treatable if caught early. Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of both.
What are the Causes of Tongue Cancer?
Tongue cancer is most often caused by smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products. Drinking alcohol also increases your risk of tongue cancer
Other risk factors include
- HPV (human papillomavirus) infection
- Having a weakened immune system
- Oral thrush
- Eating a diet high in processed meats and low in fruits and vegetables
- Poor oral hygiene
- Frequent mouthwash use with alcohol
- Genetic factors
What are the Symptoms of Tongue Cancer?
The most common symptom of tongue cancer is a sore or lump on the tongue that doesn’t go away. Other symptoms include:
- A change in the way your tongue looks, such as a lesion or ulcer
- Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or moving the tongue
- Pain when swallowing, speaking, or biting down on the tongue
- Numbness in the mouth or throat A metallic taste in the mouth
- Radiating pain to the ear, jaw, or neck
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms may not mean that you have tongue cancer, but it’s important to see a doctor if you have any of them.
Also, Read- tongue cancer stages and treatment
How to Diagnose Tongue Cancer?
The first step in diagnosing tongue cancer is to visit your doctor. He or she will ask about your symptoms and do a physical examination. You may also need one or more of the following tests:
- A biopsy- This is when a sample of tissue is removed from the tumor for testing.
- Imaging tests- such as a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan, can help diagnose tongue cancer. They can also help doctors determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Blood tests- These tests can help rule out other causes of your symptoms. Once tongue cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
It is important to remember that early detection of tongue cancer increases the chance for successful treatment. If you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
What are the Best Treatment Options for Tongue Cancer?
There are a number of treatment options available for tongue cancer, and the best option for each individual will depend on the stage and severity of the cancer.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be recommended
Surgery is often the first line of treatment for tongue cancer. The type of surgery performed will depend on the stage and location of the cancer.
For early-stage cancers, a partial or total removal of the tongue (resection) may be performed. For more advanced cancers, a radical neck dissection may be necessary in order to remove all of the cancerous tissue
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with surgery, particularly for more advanced cancers. Radiation therapy can be administered externally, or internally through the use of implants
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with radiation therapy and can be given intravenously or orally. Chemotherapy is typically reserved for more advanced cancers
The best treatment option for tongue cancer will be determined by the stage and severity of the cancer, as well as the preferences of the patient.
Surgery is often the first line of treatment, but radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be recommended. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
What are the Side Effects of Tongue Cancer Treatments?
The side effects of tongue cancer treatments will vary depending on the type of treatment used. Some common side effects of surgery include pain, swelling, and difficulty speaking.
Radiation therapy may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Chemotherapy may cause hair loss, fatigue, and mouth sores. It is important to discuss the potential side effects of treatment with your doctor before beginning any treatment regimen
It is important to be aware of the potential side effects associated with tongue cancer treatments in order to make an informed decision about which treatment is best for you.
Discussing the possible side effects with your tongue doctor in Mumbai before beginning treatment will help you make an informed decision about which treatment is best for you.
What are the Risks of Tongue Cancer?
Tongue cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer, but the risk of developing the disease increases with age. Other risk factors for tongue cancer include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a history of head and neck radiation therapy
While tongue cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer, the risk of developing the disease does increase with age. Other risk factors for tongue cancer include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a history of head and neck radiation therapy.
Taking steps to reduce your risk by quitting smoking and drinking in moderation can help to lower your chance of developing tongue cancer
What is the Prognosis of Tongue Cancer?
The prognosis of tongue cancer can vary depending on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed. In general, however, the five-year survival rate for patients with tongue cancer is about 50%. This means that about 50% of patients will survive for at least five years after being diagnosed with tongue cancer.
The 10-year survival rate is about 30%. However, these statistics may not be accurate because they are based on data from patients who were treated a long time ago. Newer treatments may improve the prognosis for tongue cancer.
Dr. Amit Chakraborty
Dr. Amit Chakraborty is a Surgical Oncologist in Mumbai, India, and has experience of 15 years of in this field. He is a well-known cancer specialist with expertise in diagnosing and treating head and neck cancer.
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