Tongue cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the tongue. Like other cancers, it occurs when cells divide out of control and form a tumour or growth, says Dr Suvadip Chakrabarti, the best head and neck cancer doctor in Kolkata.
There are two types of tongue cancer. One is called oral tongue cancer because it impacts the part of the tongue that you can stick out.
The other type occurs at the base of the tongue, where it connects to the throat. This type of cancer is called oropharyngeal cancer and is usually diagnosed after it spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck. Most people who develop this condition are older adults and it is rare in children.
One of the first indications of tongue cancer is a sore or lump on the side of the tongue that doesn’t go away. Sometimes the sore can bleed if touched, says the cancer surgeon in Kolkata.
One can also encounter:
- Pain in or near the tongue
- Changes in the voice, like sounding hoarse
- Trouble swallowing
If one has a sore or lump on their tongue or mouth that doesn’t go away or gets better in a couple of weeks, they should consult their doctor.
According to the cancer doctor in Kolkata, the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancers on the base of the tongue. It’s the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are many types of HPV. The ones that raise the odds of getting cancer are called high-risk HPV.
Other things that can raise the chances of getting tongue cancer include:
- Jagged teeth
- Alcohol use
- Tobacco use
One’s genes also play a role in whether they are likely to get tongue cancer, says the oncologist in Kolkata.
The doctor examines the mouth and asks questions about the symptoms and can also suggest an X-ray or CT (computerized tomography) scan.
They can also take a tissue sample from the mouth to test (a biopsy).
The treatment depends on how big the tumour is and its location. Surgery is usually the ideal treatment for this condition. The doctor can also take out some healthy tissue and nearby lymph nodes to ensure that the cancer hasn’t spread.
Contact Dr Suvadip Chakrabarti, a head and neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata, for more details.