As it is with many other malicious tumors, the cause can’t easily be determined, but in the case of a tongue cancer, it has been proven that older men who smoke and drink alcohol tend to get diagnosed with it more often. Obviously, smoking and drinking alcohol can be established as causes for tongue cancer in addition to some others. Recognizing tongue cancer symptoms in time is important, because chances for a complete recovery deteriorate over time. This type of cancer spreads easily and quickly towards all other parts of the oral cavity and it also influences on the lingual surface of the bottom jaw. Patients with an advanced stage of this disease suffer from limited tongue motion and the tongue deviates towards the side which is affected when it is stretched forward. Also, strong and visible swelling on the tongue can be noticed, together with difficulties speaking and swallowing. This cancer usually spreads and metastases on the surrounding lymph nodes. Around ¾ of this cancer cases are positioned on the movable part of the tongue, yet only the ¼ of cases positions itself on the bare root of the tongue. Pain begins when the cancer reaches the lingual nerve and can also radiate towards the ear. In this stage, bad breath is also present.
How is tongue cancer diagnosed?
The key in diagnosing tongue cancer is anamnesis with a clinical analysis paired with an objective medical checkup by a licensed ENT are usually enough to provide a trustworthy diagnosis. Definitive diagnose is established based on histopathological sample of the tissue which is extracted after biopsy and operative treatment. With more advanced stages of the disease, a scanner can be made which makes it possible to use nuclear magnetic resonance of the head and neck.
In most cases, treatment is done surgically, which means that the tumor is removed from the tongue, always with a significant part of it. This can reduce the patient’s life quality to a significant extent. In more complicated cases, all infected lymph nodes are also to be removed. After the surgical procedure, chemotherapy usually follows to eliminate all other particles along with a radiation therapy. Prognosis depends on the stage of the disease, general medical condition of the patient and age.
Preventing tongue cancer can be done by giving up smoking and alcohol, which are probably the most influential aspects that can cause the cancer. Along with genetic background and many other aspects that can’t really be controlled, it’s really best to avoid smoking and drinking. Survival rate of patients is high if it is diagnosed within a reasonable time, but in most cases people tend to have difficulties with talking and swallowing for the rest of their lives, which can become really annoying. By giving up on smoking and drinking you are also allowing your body to stay healthy in general and don’t forget that you need to live a healthy life style in order to objectively avoid cancer diagnosis.