Tongue Cancer: Stages, Symptoms, Causes, Pictures, Treatment
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Not as well-known as some other forms of cancer, tongue cancer is a serious disease that can significantly impact a person’s life. The cancer usually develops in the cells at the front or base of the tongue. This type of cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, leading to speech, eating, and breathing difficulties.
Early treatment is the key to improving outcomes for those diagnosed with tongue cancer, making awareness and education crucial in the fight against this disease. So, let’s learn more about tongue cancer and how to stay healthy. The following article discusses tongue cancer symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatment, etc. Continue reading to find out.
|Disease Name||Tongue Cancer|
|Alternative Name||Oral Tongue Cancer|
|Symptoms||Sore throat, Hoarseness in voice, Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking|
|Causes||Smoking, Tobacco Chewing, Extensive Drinking, Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV)|
|Diagnosis||Physical examination, Imaging, Biopsy, Nasoendoscopy, MRI scan, CT scan|
|Treated By||Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon|
||Surgery, Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Targeted Therapy, Immunotherapy|
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What is Tongue Cancer?
Tongue cancer, a type of head and neck cancer, develops on the surface of the tongue or within its tissue. It often starts as a tiny, painless bump or ulcer on the surface of the tongue, which can develop over time and result in a variety of symptoms.
Tongue cancers can occur in two places in the oral cavity.
When the cancer develops in the mouth, at the front of the tongue, it is called oral tongue cancer. It is more likely to be seen and felt.
When cancer develops in the throat, at the base of the tongue, it is called hypopharyngeal tongue cancer.
Tongue Cancer Types
There are several types of tongue cancer based on the type of cell where the cancer develops. However, the most common tongue cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer starts in the thin, flat cells that line the tongue’s surface.
Other types of tongue cancer include:
Adenocarcinoma: An uncommon form of tongue cancer that develops from the salivary glands in the tongue. These malignancies may need different ways of therapy than squamous cell carcinoma because they frequently arise in the ducts or secretory cells of the salivary glands.
Verrucous Carcinoma: A less aggressive type of tongue cancer is verrucous carcinoma. On the surface of the tongue, it typically appears as a slow-growing wart-like growth. Even while it has a tendency to grow slowly, if untreated, it can nonetheless infiltrate neighboring tissues.
Melanoma: Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the melanocytes, the cells that give skin its colour. The tongue can develop melanoma, however, it is uncommon. On the surface of the tongue, it could look like a mole or a dark-colored lesion with an uneven shape.
Lymphoma: A form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is made up of lymph nodes and lymphatic veins, is known as lymphoma. It can develop in the tongue, despite it being relatively uncommon. A lump or swelling could be a symptom of tongue lymphoma.
Tongue Cancer Stages
The staging of tongue cancer aids in figuring out the severity of the condition, how far it has spread, and the best course of action. Tumour size, lymph node involvement, and metastasis (spread to other areas of the body) are frequently used to categorise the phases of tongue cancer. The general phases of tongue cancer are as follows:
Stage 0 (Carcinoma in-situ): At this stage, the cancer cells are only found in the top layers of the tongue's surface and have not invaded deeper into the tissue. It is considered a pre-cancerous stage, and the chances of successful treatment and cure are high.
Stage I: In the stage, I, the tumour is still small (less than 2 centimeters) and limited to the tongue. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
Stage II: At this stage, the tumour may be larger (2 to 4 centimeters) and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. However, it has not metastasized to distant sites.
Stage III: In stage III, the tumour is larger than 4 centimeters and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. It has not yet metastasized to distant areas of the body.
Stage IV: Stage IV is divided into two subcategories: IVA and IVB.
Stage IVA: The tumour can be of any size, and it may have spread to nearby structures such as the jawbone, muscles, or blood vessels. Lymph nodes may or may not be involved.
Stage IVB: The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have metastasized to distant sites, such as the lungs or bones.
Tongue Cancer Symptoms
In early-stage tongue cancer, especially hypopharyngeal tongue cancer, people may not notice any symptoms. One of the most common early-stage tongue cancer symptoms is a sore on the tongue that bleeds easily. Other early tongue cancer symptoms may include mouth or tongue pain.
Besides these early signs of tongue cancer, people can experience a range of other symptoms depending on the cancer stage and location. Some common tongue cancer symptoms include:
A persistent sore throat or hoarseness
Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
Red or white patches on the tongue in the mouth
A tongue ulcer that does not heal
Changes in the way the tongue or mouth feels, such as numbness or tingling
Bleeding from the tongue with no apparent cause
A sore or lump on the tongue that does not heal
Pain or discomfort in the mouth, tongue, or throat
A stiff tongue or jaw
A feeling as if something is catching in the throat
Tongue Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Experts do not fully understand the tongue cancer causes. Researchers believe that changes in the DNA of the tongue can lead to cancer growth. However, the cause of these DNA changes is not known. Various factors can increase the risk of developing this type of cancer, such as:
Tobacco Use: Smoking or using other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, can increase the risk of developing tongue cancer. Smoking and tongue cancer are highly related. Smokers are five times more likely to get tongue cancer than nonsmokers.
Alcohol Consumption: Heavy drinking can also increase the risk of developing tongue cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Certain strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, can make people more prone to thyroid cancer.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Improper care of the teeth and gums increases the likelihood of tongue cancer.
Chronic Irritation: Repeated irritation to the tongue, such as from rough teeth, dentures, or other dental appliances, can put an individual at a greater risk of developing tongue cancer.
Family History: Having a family history of tongue cancer or other types of head and neck cancer can increase the risk of tongue cancer.
History of Cancers: A personal history of other cancers, especially squamous cell cancers, is also related to the risk of thyroid cancer.
Being Males: Males are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as females.
Poor Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of oral cancers.
Prevention of Tongue Cancer
Unfortunately, nothing can guarantee the prevention of tongue cancer. But some steps can be taken, and certain activities can be avoided to reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer. Here are some tips for preventing tongue cancer:
Avoid Tobacco Products: Smoking and using other tobacco products increase the risk of developing tongue cancer. Quitting smoking and avoiding other forms of tobacco can significantly reduce the risk.
Limit Alcohol Consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption increases tongue cancer risk. Limiting alcohol intake or avoiding it altogether can reduce the risk.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing the teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and visiting a dentist for regular check-ups, can help prevent tongue cancer.
Eat a Healthy Diet: A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, such as tongue cancer.
Be Aware of any Changes in the Mouth: If a person notices any unusual changes in their mouth, such as a sore that doesn’t heal or a lump, they should see their doctor or dentist immediately
How is Tongue Cancer diagnosed?
The diagnosis of tongue cancer can be complex and may involve a combination of tests and procedures depending on the individual case. It typically involves the following steps.
Medical History and Physical Examination: The healthcare provider will take a detailed medical history, including symptoms the patient may be experiencing.
They will also physically examine the patient’s mouth, throat, and neck to look for any signs of abnormalities, such as unhealed ulcers.
Biopsy: If the doctor finds any suspicious cell growth, they may perform a biopsy. The procedure involves removing a small tissue sample from the cell growth for examination under a microscope.
This can help determine whether the abnormal growth is cancerous or non-cancerous.
Doctors generally perform an incisional biopsy to remove a small piece of suspected cancer under local anaesthesia.
Another method is a brush biopsy, in which a doctor rolls a brush over the area to collect cells for testing.
Imaging Tests: If a biopsy confirms tongue cancer, the doctor may order imaging tests like a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan, to determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other body parts.
Staging: Once the diagnosis of tongue cancer is confirmed, the doctor will determine the stage of cancer, which is based on the tumour size and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other body parts.
Referral to Specialists: Depending on the stage and severity of the cancer, the doctor may refer the patient to specialists, such as an oncologist or a surgeon, for further treatment.
How to Prepare for Doctor Consultation?
Preparing for a doctor consultation for tongue cancer can help the patient get the most out of their appointment and feel more informed and prepared about their condition. Some tips for preparing for the appointment include:
Make a List of the Symptoms: Patients must write down any symptoms they have been experiencing, such as pain, difficulty swallowing, or a lump in the mouth. Also, they should note when the symptoms began and how often they occur.
Write Down Questions to Ask: It would help to make a list of questions for the doctor, such as what tests or procedures will be needed, what treatment options are available, and what side effects to expect.
List of Medications: Patients must bring a list of medications, supplements, or vitamins they are taking, as well as any allergies they may have.
Relevant Medical Records: Patients must bring records of previous tests or procedures related to their mouth or neck to the appointment.
Be Prepared to Provide Medical History: The doctor may ask the patients about their medical history, including any previous surgeries, medical conditions, or family history of cancer.
Bring a Support Person: Patients should consider bringing a trusted friend or family member to the appointment for emotional support and to help take notes.
Dress Comfortably: Patients must wear comfortable clothing and avoid wearing anything that may make it difficult for the doctor to examine their mouth and neck, such as high-necked shirts or tight-fitting clothing.
What to Expect from the Doctor?
During a consultation appointment for tongue cancer, a doctor may ask various questions to gather important information about the patient’s health and risk factors for tongue cancer and guide the diagnostic and treatment process. Some of these questions may include:
What symptoms are you experiencing? When did they start?
Have you ever had any previous medical conditions, surgeries, or treatments related to your mouth or throat?
Do you smoke or use tobacco products? How often and for how long?
Do you consume alcohol? If so, how much and how often?
Have you had any previous exposure to radiation therapy or chemotherapy?
Have you had recent injuries or trauma to your mouth or neck?
Have you ever been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections, such as HPV?
Does any member of your family have a history of cancer?
Have you noticed changes in your voice or difficulty speaking?
Are you experiencing pain or discomfort in your mouth or throat?
Have you noticed any lumps or growths in your mouth or neck?
What Questions to Ask the Doctor?
By asking questions during the consultation appointment, patients can better understand their condition and treatment options, helping them make more informed decisions. Here are some questions that patients may want to consider asking their doctors:
What type of tongue cancer do I have?
What is the stage of my tongue cancer, and has it spread to other parts of my body?
What treatment options are available for my tongue cancer, and which do you recommend?
What are the potential benefits and risks of each treatment option, and what side effects can I expect?
How will the treatment affect my quality of life, such as my ability to eat, speak, or swallow?
How long will the tongue cancer treatment take, and how often will I need to come for follow-up visits?
What is the success rate of the recommended treatment, and what is the likelihood of recurrence?
Are there any experimental treatments I may be eligible for?
Will I need to make any lifestyle changes during or after treatment, such as quitting smoking or changing my diet?
What support services are available to help me cope with the physical and emotional challenges of tongue cancer treatment?
Tongue Cancer Treatment
The treatment for tongue cancer will depend on the cancer stage, location, and the patient’s overall health and preferences. Treatment for tongue cancer typically involves a combination of different approaches, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Here are some common tongue cancer treatment options:
Surgery: Tongue cancer surgery is often the best way to remove the cancerous tissue in the tongue. The surgeon might also remove nearby lymph nodes if the cancer has spread. In some cases, partial or complete tongue removal may be necessary with a glossectomy procedure.
The patient may need reconstruction surgery if a large tongue piece is removed.
During the reconstruction surgery, the doctor takes a piece of skin or tissue from another body part to rebuild the tongue.
The goal of glossectomy and reconstruction surgery is to remove the tongue cancer while damaging as little of the mouth as possible.
However, glossectomy may cause some side effects, such as problems with speaking, eating, breathing, and swallowing.
Radiation Therapy: It uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. The treatment may be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy: The treatment uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used alone or with radiation therapy or tongue cancer surgery.
Targeted Therapy: It is a newer approach that targets specific molecules involved in cancer growth. It can be used in cases where the cancer has certain genetic mutations. Targeted therapy drugs work by interfering with the signaling pathways that promote cancer growth.
Immunotherapy: It uses the body's immune system to fight cancer. It works by stimulating the immune system or by using drugs that specifically target and block proteins that prevent the immune system from recognizing and attacking cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be used in advanced cases of tongue cancer or in cases where other treatments have not been effective.
Cost of Tongue Cancer Treatment
The cost of tongue cancer treatment is influenced by several factors including the stage of the cancer, the treatment method, the patient’s age, the patient’s comorbidities, location of the hospital, the type of the hospital or clinic, doctor’s expertise, and much more.
To know the cost of the treatment method, the patient must consult with his/her doctor. The below table provides an approximate cost value for various tongue cancer treatment methods.
|Surgery Name||Surgery Cost|
|Tongue Cancer Surgery|
|Radiation Therapy||₹60,000 to ₹2,00,000|
|Chemotherapy||₹75,000 to ₹2,50,000|
|Targeted Therapy||₹80,000 to ₹2,25,000|
|Immunotherapy||₹80,000 to ₹2,25,000|
Tongue Cancer Survival Rate
The survival rate represents the likelihood of a person with tongue cancer still being alive five years after the diagnosis compared with someone without tongue cancer. The survival rate for tongue cancer varies depending on several factors, including the cancer stage, the tumour’s location, and the patient’s overall health. However, generally, the disease has quite a high five-year survival rate, which is as follows:
|Stage||5-year Survival Rate|
|Localised (not spread beyond the tongue)||83%|
|Regional (spread to lymph nodes)||69%|
|Distant (spread to other body parts)||41%|
Risks and Complications of Tongue Cancer
Tongue cancer can cause several complications, most of which can affect a person’s quality of life. The risks and complications of tongue cancer depend on the stage and severity of the cancer. Here are the potential risks and complications:
Changes to the Appearance of the Mouth: Tongue cancer can cause changes, such as the development of white or red patches, ulcers, lumps, or a thickening of the tongue. In advanced cases, the cancer may cause visible swelling or deformity of the tongue or surrounding tissues.
Dysphagia (Swallowing difficulties): Tongue cancer can cause difficulty in swallowing due to pain, discomfort, and inflammation in the tongue and surrounding areas. As the cancer grows, it can physically obstruct the throat and make it harder to swallow.
Speech Difficulties: People require the interaction between muscles, bones, and tissues of their tongue, lips, teeth, and soft palate to speak. Tongue cancer treatment can affect this process, making it difficult to pronounce several sounds.
Psychological and Emotional Effects: Tongue cancer and its treatment can cause psychological and emotional effects like depression and stress.
Risks if not Treated in Time
Delaying treatment for tongue cancer can increase the risk of cancer spreading and becoming more difficult to treat. Here are some risks associated with delaying treatment:
Spread of Cancer: If tongue cancer is left untreated, it can spread to other body parts, including the lymph nodes, lungs, and bones. Once cancer has spread, it is much more difficult to treat and may require more aggressive treatment.
Increased Risk of Complications: Tongue cancer can cause difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. Delaying treatment can increase the risk of these complications becoming more severe or permanent.
Reduced Treatment Options: Delaying treatment can limit the treatment options available, as some treatments may be less effective or no longer an option if the cancer has advanced.
Decreased Survival Rate: The earlier tongue cancer is detected and treated, the better the survival chances. Delaying treatment can decrease the likelihood of successful treatment and long-term survival.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Early detection and treatment of tongue cancer can significantly increase the possibility of successful treatment and long-term survival. Patients should seek prompt medical attention if they suspect they have tongue cancer or have any symptoms related to tongue cancer. The following are some symptoms to watch out for:
A sore or lump in the mouth that does not heal
Pain in the tongue or mouth that does not go away
Difficulty or pain when swallowing or chewing
Numbness or tingling in the tongue or mouth
A feeling that something is caught in the throat
Difficulty speaking or moving the tongue
Diet for Tongue Cancer
A healthy and balanced diet is vital for individuals with tongue cancer to maintain their overall health and aid in the recovery process. While specific dietary recommendations may vary depending on individual needs and treatment plans, here are some general guidelines for a healthy diet for tongue cancer:
Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods: Select foods high in vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients. Variety is key when it comes to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats.
These foods offer the nutrients required to strengthen the immune system and encourage recovery.
Adequate Protein Intake: Protein is essential for tissue regeneration and repair. Incorporate lean protein sources into your diet, such as fish, chicken, beans, lentils, tofu, and Greek yoghurt.
If swallowing becomes challenging, you might need to change the protein sources' consistency or texture to make them more palatable.
Stay Hydrated: In order to assist in healing and maintain general health, proper hydration is crucial. Make an effort to get enough water throughout the day.
If swallowing is difficult, drink water frequently throughout the day and include hydrating meals like smoothies, soups, and broths.
Soft and Easy-to-Swallow Foods: Foods may need to be altered in texture to facilitate swallowing, depending on the treatment and individual circumstances.
During the healing stage, soft and pureed foods such as mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, soups, and smoothies can be helpful.
Avoid Irritating or Spicy Foods: The mouth and throat might become irritated by spicy or acidic foods. Such meals should be avoided, especially if they make you feel sick or hurt.
Choose bland flavours and stay away from anything that could make your symptoms worse.
If the patient has a dry mouth due to radiotherapy, the following tips can help:
Sucking on ice pops and ice cubes
Moistening their food with sauces, creams, gravy, custard, and ice cream
Chewing sugarless gum to make the salivary glands produce more saliva
Take small sips of water throughout the day
Tongue cancer stages and treatment play a crucial role in determining patients' prognosis and survival rate. With early detection and treatment, the chances of successful outcomes increase significantly. Tongue cancer treatment varies depending on the stage and location of the cancer, and a multidisciplinary approach is often necessary to ensure the best possible care.
Therefore, it is important to seek prompt medical attention if you experience tongue cancer symptoms and work with your healthcare team to develop a personalised treatment plan.
HexaHealth is a healthcare technology platform that can help patients with tongue cancer by providing access to various services, including online consultations with medical professionals, appointment scheduling, and support resources. The platform can also help patients manage their treatment plans and connect them with specialists who provide individualised care and support.
With HexaHealth, patients with cancer under the tongue can access the care they require, no matter where they are, and receive support and guidance throughout their cancer journey. So without any delay, get in touch with a HexaHealth expert TODAY!
FAQs for Tongue Cancer
What are some Myths and Facts about Tongue Cancer?
- Myth: It is easy to spot the symptoms of tongue cancer
Fact: This is the most commonly circulating myth about tongue cancer is that it is easy to identify the signs and symptoms of tongue cancer. But unfortunately, there are almost no signs in the early stages of the disease, especially in the case of tongue cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
- Myth: Only a person who consumes tobacco is likely affected by tongue cancer.
Fact: Tobacco users are at significantly higher risk of getting tongue cancer, but you can also get tongue cancer even if you do not consume tobacco, then also you can have tongue cancer.
- Myth: Tongue cancer is rare.
Fact: In India, 77,000 new oral cancer cases and 55,000 deaths due to oral cancer are reported every year. It is one-fourth of worldwide incidences.
- Myth: We can do nothing to protect ourselves from tongue cancer.
Fact: We do not know the exact reason for cause of tongue cancer. However, we can bring about some changes to decrease the risk factors that increase the chances of causing tongue cancer, such as quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco consumption.
What is tongue cancer?
Tongue cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the tongue, usually on the tongue’s surface or the base of the tongue. It can cause symptoms such as tongue pain, difficulty swallowing, and a sore throat and can be diagnosed with a physical examination, imaging tests, or a biopsy. Treatment options for tongue cancer include surgery, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
What are the common tongue cancer symptoms?
Common tongue cancer symptoms include a persistent sore throat, difficulty or pain when swallowing, a lump or sore that doesn’t heal, tongue pain, numbness or tingling in the tongue, and a change in voice. Oral cancer can cause black spots on the tongue. In some cases, tongue cancer may also cause ear pain, weight loss, and difficulty moving the tongue.
How can I check tongue cancer pictures?
You can ask your healthcare professional to show tongue cancer pictures to understand the symptoms and effects of treatment better. You can also check tongue cancer images online at authentic websites.
Are there any risk factors associated with developing tongue cancer?
Yes, several risk factors are associated with developing tongue cancer, including smoking tobacco, heavy alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, a family history of head and neck cancers, and a weakened immune system. Additionally, men are more at risk than women to get tongue cancer, and the risk increases with age.
What causes tongue cancer?
Researchers believe that changes in the DNA of the tongue lead to the growth of tumours in the tongue. However, the cause of these DNA changes is not fully understood. Certain risk factors can increase the possibility of developing tongue cancer.
What are the common signs and symptoms associated with the advanced tongue cancer stage?
The common signs and symptoms associated with the advanced tongue cancer stage may include severe tongue pain, difficulty speaking and swallowing, a lump or mass in the neck, weight loss, and fatigue. In some cases, advanced tongue cancer can cause bleeding from the tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, and a persistent cough.
Is smoking tongue cancer curable?
The curability of tongue cancer depends on several factors, including the cancer stage at the time of diagnosis, the type of treatment received, and the individual’s overall health and response to treatment. However, smoking is a known risk factor for tongue cancer, and quitting smoking can decrease the risk of developing the disease and improve overall treatment outcomes.
Is tongue cancer curable?
The chances of curing tongue cancer depend on various factors, such as the stage of cancer when diagnosed, the chosen treatment plan, and the individual’s overall health. The response to the treatment is also a crucial factor that determines the curability of the disease. Early-stage tongue cancer is often curable, while advanced-stage cancer may be more difficult to treat.
How is tongue cancer diagnosed and treated?
Tongue cancer is typically diagnosed through a physical exam, imaging tests, and a biopsy. Tongue cancer treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. The specific treatment plan will depend on the stage and location of the cancer and the patient’s overall health.
What are the different stages of tongue cancer?
There are four stages of tongue cancer: Stage I, II, III, and IV. The stages are based on the size of the tumour and whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other body parts. In first-stage tongue cancer, cancer does not spread to lymph nodes or other body parts. On the other hand, the fourth stage is characterised by cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes and other body parts.
What is early-stage tongue cancer?
Early-stage tongue cancer usually refers to Stage I or Stage II, where the tumour is relatively small and has not spread to lymph nodes or other body parts. Early-stage tongue cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of both and has a higher chance of cure than later stages.
How is first-stage tongue cancer treated?
Treatment for first-stage tongue cancer typically involves surgical removal of the tumour, often followed by radiation therapy that kills the remaining cancer cells and reduces the risk of recurrence. In some cases, chemotherapy may also help destroy cancer cells. The goal of treatment is to remove all cancer cells while preserving as much of the tongue’s function and appearance as possible.
What are the common tongue cancer early symptoms?
Early-stage tongue cancer symptoms can include a sore throat, persistent tongue pain, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and the appearance of white or red patches on the tongue. Other symptoms may include a lump or sore that doesn’t heal, persistent bad breath, and changes in voice or speech. You must visit a doctor for an evaluation if you experience any of these symptoms.
Does a black spot on the tongue indicate oral cancer?
A black spot on the tongue does not necessarily indicate oral cancer. Several other factors, including injury, infection, or hyperpigmentation can cause it. However, suppose the spot is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, swelling, or difficulty swallowing. In that case, it is recommended to see a doctor for further evaluation to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.
Can tongue cancer be prevented, and if so, how?
Tongue cancer can be prevented to some extent by preventing the risk of the disease. Some preventive measures include avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining good oral hygiene, and protecting the tongue from injury. Regular dental check-ups and screenings can also help in the early detection and prevention of tongue cancer.
What is the survival rate for people with tongue cancer?
The survival rate for people with tongue cancer depends on various factors, including the cancer stage at the time of diagnosis and the type of treatment. The overall 5-year relative survival rate for tongue cancer is as follows:
|Stage||5-year survival rate|
|Localised (not spread beyond the tongue)||83%|
|Regional (spread to lymph nodes)||69%|
|Distant (spread to other body parts)||41%|
Are there any pictures of tongue cancer available online?
Yes, several tongue cancer photos are available online, but one must note that these images can be graphic and may not be suitable for all viewers. Consulting a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan is best.
What are the different types of tongue cancer?
The two main types of tongue cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which originates in the surface cells of the tongue, and adenocarcinoma, which develops in the salivary glands beneath the tongue. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common tongue cancer.
How does tongue cancer spread to other parts of the body?
Tongue cancer can spread to other body parts through the lymphatic system or the bloodstream. Cancer cells can travel to nearby lymph nodes and organs, such as the lungs or liver, where they can form new tumours and cause additional health problems.
What are the tongue cancer treatment options?
Tongue cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination. Treatment aims to remove the cancerous cells and prevent cancer from spreading to other body parts. Treatment choice depends on various factors, such as the cancer stage, the tumour’s size and location, and the individual’s overall health and preferences.
Is surgery the only treatment option for tongue cancer?
Tongue cancer surgery is not the only treatment option. Other treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment plan for an individual with tongue cancer depends on various factors, such as cancer stage, overall health, personal preferences, and the doctor’s opinion.
What is the role of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in treating tongue cancer?
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often combined with surgery to treat tongue cancer. These treatments aim to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent cancer from returning. Radiation therapy involves high-energy radiation to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These treatments may be used before or after tongue cancer surgery, depending on the stage and location of the cancer.
What are the potential side effects of tongue cancer treatment?
The potential side effects of tongue cancer treatment can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, skin irritation, mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, changes in taste and smell, and increased risk of infection. The specific side effects can depend on the type of treatment received, the individual’s overall health, and other factors.
How long does the treatment for tongue cancer usually take?
The duration of tongue cancer treatment can vary depending on the cancer stage and the type of treatment. Treatment can range from a few weeks to several months and may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Your doctor can provide you with a more specific estimate of the duration of treatment based on your case.
Can tongue cancer recur after successful treatment?
Yes, tongue cancer can recur even after successful treatment. The likelihood of recurrence depends on several factors. Tongue cancer can come back in places where you first had it (local recurrence), the same general area as before, like the nearby lymph nodes (regional recurrence), or other body parts like bones or lungs (distant recurrence).
What lifestyle changes can help manage tongue cancer?
Making certain lifestyle changes can help manage tongue cancer. These include avoiding tobacco and alcohol, eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and regular exercise. Attending follow-up appointments with the doctor and reporting any symptoms or concerns is also crucial.
Can tongue cancer affect a person’s quality of life?
Yes, tongue cancer and its treatment can significantly affect a person’s quality of life, including speech, eating, and swallowing changes. In addition, emotional and psychological effects, such as anxiety and depression, may also have an impact. Supportive care and rehabilitation can help manage these effects and improve the overall quality of life.
What is the prognosis for tongue cancer patients?
The prognosis for tongue cancer patients depends on the cancer stage, the type of treatment received, and the individual’s overall health. The earlier the cancer is detected and treated, the better the chances of a favourable outcome. However, advanced cases of tongue cancer can be more challenging to treat and may have a poorer prognosis.
What are the follow-up procedures after the treatment of tongue cancer?
After tongue cancer treatment, follow-up procedures may include regular check-ups with the healthcare provider to monitor any signs of recurrence or new cancer growth. Imaging tests such as CT or PET scans may also be performed periodically to detect abnormalities. Patients may also be referred to speech therapists or occupational therapists to help manage any lingering side effects of treatment.
What is nutrition’s role in managing tongue cancer?
Nutrition plays a crucial role in managing tongue cancer as it can help maintain the patient’s strength and improve their immune system. A balanced and healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help the body recover from cancer treatment and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.
How important is early detection in the treatment of tongue cancer?
Early detection is crucial for the successful treatment of tongue cancer. When diagnosed early, the chances of complete recovery are higher, and treatment options may be less invasive. It is recommended to seek medical attention promptly for any symptoms or signs of tongue cancer.
What is the outlook for people with advanced-stage tongue cancer?
The outlook for people with advanced-stage tongue cancer is generally less positive than those with early-stage tongue cancer, as cancer has spread to other body parts. Treatment options may still be available, but the chances of a cure are lower, and the focus may be on managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
What are the side effects of radiation therapy for tongue cancer?
The side effects of radiation therapy for tongue cancer include fatigue, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, changes in taste, and dry mouth. In some cases, it can also cause skin irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Generally, these side effects are temporary and can be managed with medication and other supportive care.
What are the side effects of chemotherapy for tongue cancer?
Common side effects of chemotherapy for tongue cancer include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, decreased appetite, mouth sores, and increased risk of infections. Other possible side effects include neuropathy (weakness and numbness from nerve damage), skin changes, and changes in blood counts.
Is tongue cancer more common in certain age groups or genders?
Tongue cancer is more common in men than women and usually affects people over 40, although it can occur at any age.
How can tongue cancer affect a person’s ability to speak and eat?
Tongue cancer can affect a person’s ability to speak and eat by causing difficulty in moving the tongue, swallowing, or speaking. Tongue cancer treatment can also have side effects that may affect the person’s ability to eat and speak normally.
Are there any alternative treatments for tongue cancer?
No alternative treatment has been proven to cure tongue cancer. However, some alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and meditation, may help reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s overall well-being when used with standard treatments. Patients must discuss any alternative therapies with a doctor before trying them.
What is the role of speech therapy in the treatment of tongue cancer?
Speech therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitating tongue cancer patients, as it helps improve their speech, swallowing, and overall communication abilities. The speech therapist works with the patient to develop exercises to strengthen the tongue and other affected muscles, improve breathing and voice control, and teach strategies to manage communication difficulties.
What support is available for people with tongue cancer and their families?
Various support groups, counselling services, and online resources are available for people with tongue cancer and their families, which can provide emotional support, education, and practical guidance. Healthcare professionals can also offer referrals and support.
What can be the complications of untreated tongue cancer?
Complications of untreated tongue cancer can include difficulty in swallowing and speaking, the spread of cancer to other areas of the body, chronic pain, and reduced quality of life. If left untreated, tongue cancer can become life-threatening.
Does tongue cancer affect the patient’s survival rate?
Yes, tongue cancer can affect a patient’s survival rate, depending on various factors, such as the cancer stage at diagnosis, age, overall health, and response to treatment. The chances of surviving tongue cancer can vary greatly depending on the individual case, ranging from excellent to poor.
What are the myths versus facts about tongue cancer?
Myth: Tongue cancer only affects people who use tobacco or drink alcohol excessively.Fact: While tobacco and alcohol use are risk factors for tongue cancer, anyone can develop tongue cancer, regardless of lifestyle choices.
Myth: Only older people get tongue cancer.Fact: Tongue cancer can occur at any age, although it is more common in people over 40.
Myth: Tongue cancer is always visible.Fact: Tongue cancer can be difficult to detect, especially in its early stages. Some people may not have any visible early-stage tongue cancer symptoms, while others may experience symptoms such as pain or difficulty swallowing.
Myth: Tongue cancer is always fatal.Fact: With early detection and treatment, tongue cancer can often be successfully treated. The survival rate for tongue cancer depends on factors such as the cancer stage and the person’s overall health
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.
- Tongue cancer - Symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic.
- Tongue cancer: Symptoms, pictures, and outlook [Internet]. www.medicalnewstoday.com. 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 19].
- Tongue Cancer: Symptoms, Pictures, Prognosis [Internet]. Healthline. 2017 [cited 2023 Jun 19].
- Articles [Internet]. Cedars-Sinai.
- Debunking the Top 5 Oral Cancer Myths: Tompkins Dental: General Dentistry [Internet]. www.tompkinsdental.com. [cited 2023 Jun 19].
- Eating and drinking when you have mouth or oropharyngeal cancer | Cancer Research UK [Internet]. www.cancerresearchuk.org.
- Survival Rates for Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer [Internet]. www.cancer.org.
Updated on : 19 June 2023
MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES
12 Years Experience
Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More
BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)
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14 Years Experience
NABH Accredited Hospitals
Excellence in General Surgery,E.N.T.,Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Excellence in General Surgery,E.N.T.,Obstetrics & Gynaecology
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