Cancer of the tongue comprises between 25 and 50% of all intraoral cancer. It is less common in women than in men except in certain geographic localities, chiefly the Scandinavian countries, where the incidence of all intraoral cancer in women is high incidence of a preexisting Plummer-Vinson syndrome. There are two parts to your tongue, the oral tongue and the base of the tongue. The front two third of the tongue is oral part. Cancers that develops in this part is called as mouth or oral cancer. The base of the tongue is the back third of the tongue. Cancers that develop in this part are called as oropharyngeal cancer.
Tongue Cancer Causes
- Leukoplakia is a common lesion of the tongue which has been observed many times to be associated with tongue cancer.
- Smoking tobacco or drinking a lot of alcohol are the main risk factors for cancers of head and neck
- Other factors which have been thought to contribute to the development of carcinoma of the tongue include poor oral hygiene, chronic trauma and the use of alcohol and tobacco
Tongue Cancer Symptoms
The most common presenting sign of carcinoma of the tongue is a painless mass or ulcer, although in most patients the lesion ultimately becomes painful, especially when it becomes secondarily infected. The tumor may begin as a superficially indurated ulcer with slightly raised borders and may proceed either to develop a fun gating, exophytic mass or to infiltrate the deep layers of the tongue, producing fixation and induration without much surface change
The symptoms of tongue cancer may include
- A red or white patch on the tongue, that will not go away
- A sore throat that does not go away
- Ulcer or lump on the tongue that does not go away
- Pain when swallowing
- Numbness in the tongue that will not go away
- Unexplained bleeding from the tongue
- Rare cases pain in the ear
- Usually painless initially. The patient may develop a burning sensation or pain when the tumor is advanced
What is the Treatment for Tongue Cancer?
The treatment of cancer of tongue is a difficult problem. The treatment depends on the size of the cancer. The treatment procedures are
One of these or combination of these treatments may be required. The best treatment for very small tongue cancers is surgery. For larger tumors that have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, then the combination of surgery and radiotherapy are required.
- Glossectomy:- the procedure of removing the part of the tongue or total tongue is called as glossectomy. This can cause problems with the speech and changes in eating and drinking.
- Many radiotherapists prefer the use of radium needles or radon seeds to x-ray radiation because they are able with these devices to limit the radiation to the tumor, sparing adjacent normal tissue. Dry, sore mouth and taste changes may result due to the radiation therapy.
- Metastatic nodes are highly complicating factors, but treating them without controlling the primary lesion is useless.