Tongue cancer is a form of cancer forming in the tongue and forms a part of head and neck cancer. The tongue begins at the base of the throat and extends into the mouth. It is composed of muscles and nerves that control movements and also aids in function, such as taste, speaking, eating, and swallowing. Cancer in the tongue can start in the mouth or in the throat that spreads to the tongue. This can look like spots or it can be in the form of lumps which don’t go away.
Diagnosis of Tongue Cancer
Tongue cancer can be diagnosed by a doctor or dentist even before the symptoms appear. When the symptoms of tongue cancer appear, visiting a doctor may be beneficial to diagnose it or rule it out as early as possible. The doctor may perform a physical examination of the tongue and ask for the symptoms and medical history.
Possible diagnostic tests for tongue cancer may include the following.
- Endoscopic test: A thin, lighted tube with an attached camera called an endoscope is passed down the nose to the throat to look for signs of tongue cancer in the throat and mouth.
- Biopsy test: A biopsy test is a surgical procedure used to look for cancer in a sample of tissue from the tongue. The sample of tissue is sent to a laboratory for testing to find whether the cells in the sample are cancerous.
- Imaging test: Imaging tests may be recommended to capture images inside the body, in this instance, the tongue. The imaging tests can help to identify the location and size of the cancer. Imaging tests used for the diagnosis of tongue cancer include – X-rays, Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. An ultrasound scan may also be performed to look for signs of cancer in the lymph nodes.
Treatment of Tongue Cancer
Tongue cancer treatment depends upon the position and size of the affected area. Tongue cancer surgery is often the best treatment for tongue cancer. Sometimes, the lymph nodes may also get affected if the cancer metastasises (spreads) and they may be removed during surgery.
Other tongue cancer treatment modalities include:
- Radiation therapy
Using powerful energy beams to destroy cancer cells is the working principle of radiation therapy. It can be done by X-rays, protons or other sources. Beams of energy directed at the specific regions containing the cancer cells are destroyed by these beams.
Chemotherapy employs chemotherapy drugs, which are medicines to destroy cancer cells. It may be used before or after surgery to control the growth of cancer cells or to destroy any remaining cells. It may also be used along with radiation therapy.
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment modality that helps to strengthen the body’s own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy makes use of certain medicines to target specific chemicals in the cancer cells. When these chemicals are blocked, cancer cells may die. Targeted therapy may also be used if tongue cancer comes back.
Preventing Tongue Cancer
Tongue cancer may be prevented by taking proper care of the mouth, teeth and tongue, and taking precautions to reduce the risk of tongue cancer.
- Tobacco is one of the most prominent risk factors for tongue cancer. Avoiding tobacco products that can be smoked or chewed can help prevent tongue cancer.
- Regular alcohol consumption may also lead to tongue cancer. Heavy, regular alcohol consumption should be avoided.
- Receiving a vaccine for the HPV virus to prevent any chance of HPV infection may be beneficial to prevent tongue cancer.
- It is also important to have regular dental checkups and/or overall health checkups to detect any abnormalities early on.
Early diagnosis of tongue cancer leads to better outcomes of any form of cancer treatment. In most cases, tongue cancer surgery may be enough but advanced stages of tongue cancer may require additional treatment such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Get check-up facilities and oncological consultation with the top Oncologists of India at the best tongue cancer treatment hospital in India, Wockhardt Hospitals. Book your appointment today and get a quote for an affordable tongue cancer treatment cost.
FAQs on Tongue Cancer Treatment in India
Q. What is Oral cancer?
Cancer that affects the part of the tongue that sticks out is called oral cancer. This can cause symptoms almost immediately and can be detected easily by a doctor or dentist.