ABC Medical Center > Tongue cancer

What is Tongue cancer?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


It is an oncological condition in which the squamous cells that cover the surface of the tongue are affected and begin to multiply uncontrollably.

It is also known as oral cancer, and is related to the human papillomavirus, and can also manifest in the mouth or throat.

Men over 50 years old have the highest incidence of tongue cancer.

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing tongue cancer, such as: 

  • Family history of tongue or mouth cancer.
  • Depressed immune system.
  • Smoking.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.
  • Human papillomavirus.
  • Toxic chemicals.
  • Having had another type of squamous cell cancer.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Diet low in fiber and vegetables.
  • Poor oral hygiene.

The most common type of tongue cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, it is classified by the degree of progress and if it has metastasized, that is, if it has spread to other areas of the body.

Signs and symptoms Tongue cancer

The characteristic symptoms consist of: 

  • Appearance of a persistent sore on the tongue.
  • Sore jaw or throat.
  • Neck or ear pain.
  • Oral numbness.
  • Presence of a whitish or reddish stain.
  • Discomfort when swallowing.
  • Loosening of teeth.
  • Trouble swallowing or chewing food.
  • Stiffness in the tongue or jaw.
  • Tongue bleeding.
  • Apparent lump in the throat.
  • Tongue ulcer that does not heal.

Diagnosis and treatment Tongue cancer

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and request the following tests to make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Blood test.
  • Complete study of the tongue to detect masses or lumps.
  • Imaging studies:
  • X-rays.
  • MRI.
  • Computed tomography.
  • Tongue biopsy. 

The appropriate treatment for you is established according to the size and location of the cancer, but the purpose is to eliminate the diseased cells. The most used therapies are:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Surgery.

The treatment may affect your ability to eat and speak, so a team of specialists and therapists will be able to help you regain your abilities as much as possible.

Since its opening in 2009, our Cancer Center offers chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments at the level of the best medical centers in the world through a comprehensive care model for cancer patients.


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  • cancer.net
  • cancer.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • medigraphic.com
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