Cancer of the tongue is classified as an aggressive type of cancer. Despite the fact that it is relatively rare, it is capable of rapidly progressing and giving numerous metastases. Pathology is diagnosed more often in men after 50-60 years. The number of women with this diagnosis is several times less. It practically does not occur in children.
Based on the place in which the formation arose, there are:
Tumor of the body of the tongue. This type of disease is the most common.
Cancer of the root of the tongue. It is the most aggressive form, which is characterized by rapid development.
Lower part cancer (localized directly under the tongue). It is diagnosed very rarely.
A neoplasm can take several forms:
Infiltrative cancer of the tongue. Usually it begins to develop at the tip of the tongue, but it can also arise in another place, gradually covering its entire surface. This immobilizes the muscle.
Ulcerative form. Refers to the most common. In this case, the ulcers begin to bleed. They are characterized by peripheral growth.
Squamous cell carcinoma. The neoplasm affects the epithelium of the oral cavity, spreading to the larynx, nasal mucosa, and the thyroid gland.
Papillary tongue cancer is a papilloma that grows very slowly.
Adenocarcinoma of the root of the tongue is rarely diagnosed.
Tongue cancer symptoms
The early symptoms of tongue cancer are rather vague, so it is often difficult to detect it at an early stage. The signs of the disease depend on the stage at which the malignant process is.
Early symptoms of tongue cancer (stage 1):
painful lump that is small in size;
numbness of the muscles in the mouth;
sores, cracks and other damage to the tongue;
plaque white or brown;
enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes;
At the second stage of the oncological process, the patient may notice:
an increase in the size of the seal, its growth and penetration into adjacent tissues;
limitation of the mobility of the tongue;
soreness and burning sensation;
The third stage is characterized by the following symptoms:
the tumor increases in size, and its diameter can reach 2-4 cm;
pain that radiates to the forehead or temple;
severe impairment of muscle mobility.
At the fourth stage, the tumor is large, the person experiences severe pain and difficulty swallowing food. This leads to refusal to eat, sudden weight loss, weakness. Metastases spread to the lymph nodes, can penetrate into the liver and lungs.
The exact causes of tongue cancer are still not known. But doctors have identified factors that increase the risk of developing a malignant tumor:
damage to the tongue;
smoking and alcoholism;
precancerous diseases (dysplasia, etc.).
Diagnosis of tongue cancer
If signs of the disease are detected during examination and palpation, the patient is additionally prescribed:
Tongue cancer treatment
After a diagnosis is made, the oncologist chooses how to treat the disease. The tactics depend on the stage of the pathological process and the general condition of the patient. The following methods can be assigned:
radiation therapy for cancer of the root of the tongue or another part of it;
operation (performed at the initial stages of the disease).
Before and after surgery, a course of chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be prescribed.
Whether it is possible to cure cancer depends on the stage at which it was detected, what form of oncology, the patient’s condition and other factors.
Forecast and prevention of tongue cancer
With early detection of the disease, the prognosis for the patient is positive, and the survival rate is very high. If a malignant neoplasm is found in an advanced stage, the patient will have a long and difficult treatment. That is why it is important not to ignore the slightest signs of oncology.
Prevention consists in quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, timely treatment of any dental diseases, and high-quality oral hygiene. It is important to consult a doctor for any suspicion of the development of a neoplasm.