What is it?

Tongue cancer is a form of cancer that begins in the cells of the tongue.
Several types of cancer can affect the tongue, but tongue cancer most often begins in the thin, flat squamous cells that line the surface of the tongue. The type of cells involved in your tongue cancer helps determine your prognosis and treatment.

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Signs & symptoms

Oral Tongue Cancer
* A lump on the side of the tongue that touches the teeth.
* The lump often looks like an ulcer and is grayish-pink to red.
* The lump bleeds easily if bitten or touched.

Base of Tongue Cancer
* The tumor is often difficult to see in the early stages, so it is usually diagnosed when it is larger.
* There are few symptoms in the early stages.
* In later stages, the cancer may cause pain, a sense of fullness in the throat, difficulty swallowing, the feeling of a lump in the neck or throat, voice changes or ear pain.


To make a diagnosis, the doctor will take a medical history and ask specific questions about symptoms. A patient's tongue and neck will be examined and a small, long-handled mirror will be used to look down the throat.
Several tests are used to aid in the diagnosis. These tests include:
* X-rays of the mouth and throat, including CT.
* PET scans, which use radioactive materials to identify excessive activity in an organ. This may indicate the tumor is growing.

Tongue cancer usually requires a biopsy. There are different methods to obtain a biopsy:
* Fine needle aspiration biopsy- A thin needle is inserted into the tumor mass and a sample is drawn out by suction into a syringe.
* Incisional biopsy- A sample is removed with a scalpel (surgical knife).
* Punch biopsy- A small circular blade removes a round area of tissue.


Treatment for tongue cancer typically involves surgery to remove the cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted drug therapy also may be recommended.
Treatment for advanced tongue cancers can impact your ability to speak and eat. Working with a skilled rehabilitation team can help you cope with changes that result from tongue cancer treatment.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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