Cancer can strike virtually any part of the body. It can also originate in one part of the body and then if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body putting the person who has the disease at serious risk. It is far easier to combat cancer and even eliminate it if it is caught in the early stages. Cancer can strike the oral cavity and specifically the tongue. So understanding and recognizing the key tongue cancer symptoms can be a vitally important way to identify the presence of cancer hopefully before it has developed and spread to the point where effective treatment is very difficult.
Tongue cancer is a type of cancer where cancerous cells first originate and grow in the base of the tongue or the tongue itself. It occurs more commonly in men versus women. People who use tobacco and alcohol heavily are at greater risk for developing this disease. It also tends to occur in men who are over 50 years of age.
So in order to help identify the presence of this disease in the earliest possible stages, please note these important tongue cancer symptoms:
- Generally the first symptom which arises is a red or white spot on the tongue. It can vary in size from very small to a medium sized spot. This spot may also appear in the lining of the mouth or gums. It may eventually develop into a firmer raised spot. If this occurs, it means that the cancer is growing. If you see this happening, see a medical professional immediately.
- hroat pain or difficulty in chewing or swallowing is another common symptom of tongue cancer. This symptom can also be indicative of strep throat or a sore throat. However when it occurs along with the presence of a spot or spots mentioned above, there is a good likelihood of the presence of cancer in that area. So seek proper medical attention and treatment as soon as possible.
- Many people who have developed tongue cancer can experience bleeding in that area. The cancer spots which develop tend to be very sensitive to wear or pressure and can burst open while chewing food or swallowing.
- In many cases someone who has developed tongue cancer may find that their voice changes somewhat. They may also experience an ache or pain in the middle or inner ear.
- And there may be a foul odor in the mouth and a bad taste due to the progression of cancer in that area.
- Be alert to some other tongue cancer symptoms which can include looseness in teeth for no apparent reason; persistent neck pain or jaw pain; difficulties in moving the tongue; presence of a lump in the back of the throat or on the lining of the inside of the mouth; and unusual and unexpected weight loss.
If cancer is suspected, doctors may implement a variety of tests. The first thing they would do is to perform a physical exam to look for signs of the cancer like lumps or spots. They would almost certainly perform a biopsy of the affected area to determine the presence of cancer cells.
Once a proper diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan would be implemented. The specific course of treatment may depend on the location of the cancer, its type and stage, and the overall health of the patient. If the cancer is identified in the early stages and it remains localized, then minor surgery will usually be very effective. However if the cancer has grown and developed into a larger tumor, more extensive surgical procedures may be warranted. If the cancer has spread to nearby areas like the neck, treatment may include procedures to remove the cancer from lymph nodes and surrounding tissue.
In some cases the surgical procedure needs to be so invasive that reconstructive surgery is necessary. This will help the patient to regain normal functions of eating, drinking and speaking. But as indicated earlier, staying alert to early symptoms is key to enable the best results and minimize the damage to essential parts of the body.