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Tongue Cancer : Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Friday, August 10th 2012. | Cancer, Disease, Mouth Health

Tongue Cancer Definition

The tongue is the organ located in the mouth used to speaking, nutrition (chewing, swallowing, sucking) and speech (articulation of sounds)

It is an organ composed of muscle-mucosal muscles 17 around which fits a mucosal site of sensory organs (taste buds, salivary reflex).

It is divided into two parts: one moving part (the one we did move easily in his mouth) and tongue base, located in the oropharynx (that is to say the beginning of the throat) .

The tongue cancer is a cancer cell development (that is to say, cells which have a modified DNA, multiplying in an anarchic way, without specific role, can fight our “normal” cells) at the language.

This is a relatively common cancer, with about 2000 new cases per year (90% of cases are in men), with a peak incidence around age 55. The age of onset tends to be lower since the early age of smoking tobacco and marijuana.

Tongue Cancer

Tongue Cancer (img : thanks to tocancer.com)

Tongue Cancer Causes

Various lifestyle increase the risk of getting cancer of the tongue:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, pipe), or marijuana
  • HPV is also implicated (sexually transmitted viruses)

Tongue Cancer Patient Symptoms

The cancer is in 2/3 of cases on the mobile part of the tongue, 1/3 of cases at its base, which is why it is sometimes invisible or barely visible to the naked eye (eg when you open mouth and you just look in the mirror).

It occurs most frequently on the side of the tongue, but can also be located above or below, rarely after.

If visible, it can take either an appearance of canker sores (whitish, slightly widening) is a more reddish color of your tongue.

This is a cancer that is not painful at the beginning of evolution, and therefore diagnosed late (the average length of diagnosis was 5 months).

At first you may feel like a mere annoyance recurring pain, discomfort when chewing, the articulation of words.

Diagnosis is often made where an earache (that is to say a pain in the ear that is on the same side as the tumor) or lymphadenopathy (it is a ganglion, or small ball ignites, often hard and painful, of variable size, located under the chin or neck) side of the tumor also.

Attention, any lesion in the language is not cancer. There are other diseases like tuberculosis, syphilis, benign tumors, so they are not cancerous, or even a single lesion of dental origin!

In case of a persistent lesion in the mouth, consider consulting your doctor.

Tongue Cancer Diagnosis

If in doubt about the origin of the injury, your doctor will perform a biopsy (that is to say, we cut a small piece and analyzed to see its structure, and whether or not there cancer cells).

In the event of proven cancer, a staging to see the local and remote attacks will be performed by CT, MRI, PET-scan according to your case. It will also be performed a panendoscopy (that is to say a hose with a camera that puts into the mouth under anesthesia) to see how much damage locally and search for other small cancers, sometimes associated.

Tongue Cancer Patient  Expert Diagnosis

This is the ENT surgeon who deals with this type of cancer.You will operate and / or refer you to an oncologist (or oncologist) for further support.

Tongue Cancer Treatment

The treatment is that of cancer, combining surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy according to you (your age, your general condition, your medical history, and the size of the tumor, its location, local invasion and distant).

The main treatment is ablation surgery with (that is to say, cutting) of the whole tumor. Depending on its location, the surgeon will proceed with a reconstruction of part of your tongue with strips made usually in the neck, the tongue is a major organ in everyday life.

Tongue Cancer Preventive

If you want to reduce the risk of getting cancer of the tongue, you must:

  • Do not smoke or stop (daily intake of 30 cigarettes increased by 6 your risk of getting cancer of the tongue compared to someone who would smoke it!)
  • Limit your alcohol consumption (which also increases your risk), the association between smoking and alcohol are the worst! (They increase 15 your risk of getting cancer of the tongue).
  • Watch your mouth when whitish or reddish lesion persistent, even if it is not located at the language, do not hesitate to consult. There are lesions “precancerous” easily treated by laser.

Sequelae, and addition of chemotherapy or radiotherapy (common to all cancers), are those of the language-specific surgery. It can result in swallowing disorders with the presence of aspiration (that is to say foods that do not descend by the hot tip and end up in the lungs), and slurred speech (difficulty to speak: a speech therapist can help you), pain from nerve damage (or radiotherapy), and a scar that can often cause significant mental problems.

For all these inconveniences, the supported specific exist.Feel free to discuss this with your oncologist or your ENT.



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