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Tongue Cancer Symptoms and Treatment

Tongue cancer symptoms tend to be similar to symptoms of other types of oral cancer, and you can suspect them, although you need a health professional to confirm the diagnosis. Most common signs and symptoms associated with tongue cancer are the following:
• Jaw Pain
• Weight Loss 

Bad breath (halitosis)
Difficulty or painful swallowing (dysphagia or odynophagia)
• Sore ear (earache)
• Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
Hoarse voice and difficulty speaking
Ulcers that do not heal with bleeding

Tongue CancerDiagnosis 

A proper cancer treatment will be considered only after a firm and unequivocal diagnosis has been made. For this, most health care provider will perform a biopsy, that is to say, we will take a small piece of sample from the tissue the cancer is suspected to be examined under a microscope. This allows doctors to be sure that the cancer cells are really present. 

Other tests such as imaging techniques will also be performed to determine how far the cancer has spread. These tests include CT exam, magnetic resonance image (MRI), positron emission tomography, and X-ray scanners. Through these tests, doctors can take detailed pictures of structures inside the body and see exactly where the cancer is located.
Tongue Cancer Stages  

Health specialists classify cancers in stages, depending on the size of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread from its original location. The system of staging of various cancers can be complex and very detailed, but in general, the higher the stage, the more serious is the cancer, thus the more radical the treatment will be. For example, a stage 1 cancer is relatively small and did not spread nearly out of its original site, as against a stage 4 cancer which is very large and has spread far from its original site to distant organs.

Tongue cancer Stages include:
 T1: The tumor is 2 cm or smaller
 T2: The tumor is larger than 2 cm but not exceeding 4 cm
 T3: The tumor is larger than 4 cm
 T4: The tumors include adjacent structures

Tongue Cancer Treatment 

Tongue cancer treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy (radiation) or chemotherapy, or a combination of these therapies. Because each patient and each case is unique, there is no unique treatment pre-recommended for all patients. Your doctor will decide the treatment that suits you best based on the stage of your cancer, your health and your medical history. Tongue cancer treatment tends to be similar of that of other types of oral cancer.
Tongue Cancer Surgery - Often, the tumor is removed surgically. The amplitude of the surgical procedure (the amount of tissue to be removed) depends on the cancer stage, internal structures that are affected and other factors such as your general health. Surgery is usually very effective, but it is often followed by other forms of therapy in order to ensure that all the cancer cells have been eliminated. 


Common adverse reaction patients may experience after the surgical therapy include: 


Difficulty breathing (rare) 

Pain in the area of the surgery 

Numbness in your mouth or neck 

Difficulty swallowing, eating, or talking 

Occasionally, infection, bleeding, or oozing from the cut 

Shoulder weakness, which can occasionally occur after removal of lymph nodes from your neck 

Tongue Cancer Radiotherapy - when it comes to tongue cancer treatment, doctors use highly concentrated beams of radiation to kill the tumor cells, while protecting as much as possible the healthy cells. Radiation therapy is not painful, but the fact the radiation also kills healthy cells near the tumor, there may be the following side effects:

 Skin problems: skin can temporary take a red color, like a sunburn
 Fatigue: many patients feel extremely tired during the treatment.
 Loss of appetite: radiotherapy, as other forms of cancer treatments, often results in a loss of appetite 

 Hair loss: radiation to the head area causes hair loss. Ask your doctor if this happens to you.
Chemotherapy - anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy drugs) are injected or taken orally. These drugs are specifically designed to detect cancer cells in the entire body and kill them. However, they also damage normal cells and thus cause adverse reactions. Chemotherapy also affects the spinal cord, where the cells are made. This decreases the number of cells in the blood and causes these side effects: 


loss of appetite
hair loss
mouth ulcers 

increased risk of infection
bruising / blue
bleeding from small cuts
shortness of breath
tiredness and weakness 


Most of these side effects will disappear at the end of treatment. In addition, a well-balanced diet taken with appropriate food supplement can reduce them. 



Tongue Cancer Causes and Risk Factors