A type of mouth cancer or oral cancer that usually develops in the squamous cells on the surface of the tongue is known as tongue cancer. There can be tumours or lesions due to it. A sore on the tongue that does not heal and a painful tongue are the most noticeable signs of tongue cancer. There are two areas of the tongue where cancer can develop. Cancer at the front of the tongue is called tongue cancer whereas oropharyngeal cancer is cancer that develops at the back of the tongue.
According to the cancer doctors in Kolkata, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of tongue cancer. The thin and flat cells present on the surface of the skin and the tongue and in the lining of the digestive and respiratory tracts are called squamous cells. They are also present in the lining of the mouth, throat, thyroid and larynx. The symptoms are:
- There is a pain in the tongue and a sore on it.
- There is a pain in the jaw or throat.
- There is a feeling of something catching in the throat.
- There is a pain when swallowing.
- There is a stiff tongue or jaw.
- There are problems in swallowing or chewing food.
- There is the formation of a red or white patch on the lining of the mouth or tongue.
- There is numbness in the mouth.
- There is a tongue ulcer that does not heal.
- There is unexplained bleeding from the tongue.
- There is a lump on the tongue that does not go away.
There are different risk factors for tongue cancer. Some of them are:
- You smoke or chew tobacco.
- You consume excess alcohol.
- Your diet consists of less fruit and vegetables and more red meat or processed foods.
- You have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
- You have a family history of tongue or mouth cancers.
- You have had previous cancers, particularly other squamous cell cancers.
The risk of this type of cancer is more in older men.
The best surgical oncologist in Kolkata performs surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. Depending on the size of the tumour tongue is resected which is known as glossectomy, partial, hemi or total glossectomy depending on the amount of tongue tissue resected encompassing the tumour. The resultant defect can be reconstructed by primary closure or free flaps. Surgery is not limited to the reaction of the tongue, the draining lymph nodes in the neck has to be addressed. Depending on the final histopathology report adjuvant therapy is advised i.e. radiation or concurrent chemo radiation. In majority, upfront surgery provides the best line of treatment.