Tongue Cancer-Apollo Hospital Blog

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in certain organs of the body, causing lumps and tumors. There are several types of oral cancer, depending on the particular area where this uncontrolled cell division occurs.

What is Tongue Cancer?

Various types of cancer can occur in the mouth. The most common type of cancer of the tongue is the growth of the cancer in the inner layer of the surface of the tongue tissue, the flat flat epithelial cells. Squamous epithelial cancer is common and can appear on the surface of the skin, intima, nose, larynx, thyroid gland, throat, and more. It also affects the inner layers of the airways and digestive tract. By identifying the cells involved, doctors can diagnose the type of cancer that affects the tongue. There are two main types.

  1. Oral cancer- This type of cancer affects the tip of the tongue. It can be diagnosed and treated immediately.
  2. Hypopharynx Tongue Cancer- This cancer can develop with several signs and symptoms In the throat At the base of your tongue, where tongue. In most cases, it is not diagnosed early and is usually detected when the tumor becomes very large.

Symptoms of tongue cancer

One of the early symptoms is the formation of a painful lump on the side of the growing tongue. The lump may be slightly pinkish red. It hurts to touch. Other symptoms are:

  • A red or white patch that won’t disappear in a few weeks.
  • Persistent tongue ulcer
  • Numbness in the oral cavity.
  • If you try to touch or chew, the lump will bleed.
  • Pain during swallowing.

Oropharyngeal cancer, on the other hand, is asymptomatic in the early stages and can be detected by a healthcare provider during a physical examination.

Causes of tongue cancer

The exact cause of tongue cancer is unknown. It is more common in older men than in women and children. However, certain habits and patterns are associated with the development of oral cancer. they are:

  • Tobacco consumption
  • Alcoholism
  • Genetics
  • Poor eating habits
  • Chew betel leaves
  • Jagged teeth
  • Infected with HPV (human papillomavirus)

When do you see a doctor?

If the painful lump does not go away spontaneously or the above symptoms do not occur, see a doctor. The doctor will first record the family history and perform a physical examination of the oral cavity to check for lumps, tumors, unhealed ulcers, lymph nodes, etc. to determine the nature and spread of the cancer. You will be asked if you are addicted to smoking or drinking (if any), or if you have tested positive for HPV (human papillomavirus).

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If a doctor suspects cancerous growth in the oral cavity, a biopsy is prescribed. A small portion of the tumor or lump is incised and analyzed in the laboratory. A variety of other techniques, such as CT and MRI scans, can be used to determine how far the cancer has spread to the mouth and the rest of the body.

How to prevent oral cancer?

Oral cancer can be prevented by following certain practices and paying special attention to oral hygiene. Included:

  • Avoid chewing tobacco and betel leaves. Tobacco is carcinogenic.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Controls alcohol consumption. Chronic alcohol intake irritates the oral cavity, which makes it more susceptible to cancer.
  • Receive HPV vaccination.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables.
  • Use a brush and dental floss on a regular basis. By seeing your dentist on a regular basis, you can quickly find any abnormalities that have just begun.
  • Take care of your gums.
  • Brush your teeth daily and try to floss regularly


Treatment of oral cancer depends on where and how much cancer has spread in the mouth. If the cancer is in its early stages and has not spread, it may be treated with surgery to remove the affected area. If the cancer has spread, most of the tongue is removed. This procedure is called a glossectomy. Removing part of the tongue affects eating, swallowing, and talking. In such cases, reconstructive surgery is performed to reconstruct the tongue using tissue from another part of the body. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, chemotherapy will support the entire procedure to ensure that it is surgically removed and all cancer cells are killed. The entire surgical process is followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

The earlier the diagnosis, the higher the survival rate. Early diagnosis allows doctors to save most of the tongue before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. If the lump or ulcer does not heal and persists for a long time, see a doctor.


Survival rate can be determined according to the spread of tongue cancer. Only local spread will result in higher survival. If the cancer has spread only to the tongue without the involvement of lymph nodes or other parts of the mouth, survival can be as high as 78 percent. Survival can be as low as 36% if the cancer has spread far beyond the tongue and mouth. Therefore, it is very important to be very aware of your oral health and if you find a lump, ulcer, or pain that persists for more than 2 weeks, you should contact your health care provider. Early diagnosis reduces complications, risks, and side effects and improves survival.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • I have ulcers on a regular basis. Need to worry about oral cancer?

If the ulcer heals spontaneously within 2 weeks, it doesn’t matter. If this is not the case, you will need to see a doctor for examination. Also, be aware of other symptoms such as pain and lumps in the mouth.

  • What happens if I leave my tongue cancer untreated?

If the cancer is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. Also, such patients will feel pain and will have difficulty eating and swallowing. Patients also affect their normal daily activities due to slurred speech.

  • Is recurrence possible even after proper treatment of oral cancer?

Recurrence is always possible with all types of cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis for follow-up.

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