Author: Shalini Saksena
People are unaware that tobacco contains more than 60 dangerous chemicals, including carcinogen promoting substances.
The symptoms of tongue cancer may not be visible in early stages, especially if disease is towards base of tongue: Dr Kapil Dev.
Large tumors are removed by a partial glossectomy, which involves removing a portion of the tongue.
Cigarette smoking is a common sight today, not only among adults but the youngsters too. While the habit of smoking is more of social behavior for many, its harmful consequences are only realized when the body starts breaking down.
Dr Kapil Dev, consultant, Surgical Oncology, HCG Cancer Hospital in Jaipur told News9 that many people are unaware that tobacco contains more than 60 dangerous chemicals, including carcinogens and cancer-promoting substances, which can infiltrate the body’s numerous systems and cause mouth, lung and even tongue cancer.
What is tongue cancer?
It is a type of cancer that develops in the tongue’s cells. Tongue cancer most commonly develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that line the surface of the tongue. It occurs, like other cancers, when cells divide uncontrollably and accumulate to form a tumor.
There are two types of tongue cancers. “One is known as oral tongue cancer because it affects the section of the tongue that can be projected out. The other takes place near the base of the tongue, where it joins your throat. This type of cancer, known as oropharyngeal cancer, is frequently detected after it has progressed to the lymph nodes in your neck,” Dr Dev explained.
What are the common symptoms?
The symptoms of tongue cancer may not be visible in the early stages, especially if the disease is towards the base of the tongue. A sore on the tongue that does not heal, and bleeds freely is the most common early symptom of tongue cancer. There might be a pain in the mouth or tongue.
Other symptoms of tongue cancer may include:
A persistent red or white spot on your tongue.
A tongue ulcer that causes pain during swallowing as well as mouth numbness.
Persistent sore throat.
Bleeding of the tongue with no cause.
A lump on the tongue.
What is the treatment?
It is determined by the size of the tumor and the extent to which the cancer has spread. “Early stages in cancer when it has not spread can usually be treated with minor surgery to remove the afflicted area. Larger tumors are frequently removed by a partial glossectomy, which involves removing a portion of the tongue,” Dr Dev said. If a big portion of the tongue is removed, reconstructive surgery is usually required. The goal of both the glossectomy and reconstruction surgery is to eliminate the malignancy while causing the least amount of damage to the mouth. In some cases, chemotherapy in combination with radiation is also recommended to treat cancer.
Are there any preventive measures?
Cigarette smoking and chewing tobacco have a higher chance of developing oral cancer. “Smokers are 10 times more likely to have oral cancer in comparison to non-smokers. Making lifestyle changes along with eating a balanced diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, oral and tongue cancer can be prevented,” Dr Dev said.