The tongue is an organ located in the mouth and consists of muscle and has many important functions such as chewing, swallowing, initiation of digestion, speech and taste. As many tissues of the body can have tumors of the tongue. As with any tumor, having enough information about this issue allows a person to contact a doctor as soon as possible. Because early diagnosis and treatment are of great importance for a person’s health.
Cancer of the tongue can start in cells that usually cover the surface of the tongue, as well as originate from any tissue. These are tumoral formations that occur due to long-term smoking and alcohol use or constant irritation.
3% of all intraoral cancers are tongue cancers. Tongue cancer is the most common type of oral cancer after lip cancer.It is rare under the age of 40, while its frequency is steadily increasing at the age of 60-70 and above. It is more frequent in men compared to women. This gender difference is attributed to the fact that smoking and alcohol use are more common in males. But the increase in smoking and alcohol use in women over the years also increases this rate in favor of women.
As with other cancers, smoking and alcohol consumption are the most important risk factors for tongue cancers. The risk increases depending on the duration of cigarette use and the amount of cigarettes smoked. Smokers are 25 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer than non-smokers. Among other risk factors, virus infections, HIV, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radiation, dietary factors, genetic predisposition and poor oral hygiene and a long-term irritation.
Symptoms of language cancer can be listed as follows. Some of the symptoms are: Red-white patch wound/ulcer on the tongue and the wound grows over time, bleeding foci on the tongue, pain when chewing or swallowing, hardening of the tongue tissue, bad breath, numbness in the tongue and inside the mouth, change in voice, unexplained weight loss , mass in the neck region, enlargement of the glands in the neck and difficulty in opening the mouth.
In tongue cancers, diagnosis is usually reached by taking parts of the scar tissue on the tongue and sending it for pathological examination. After diagnosis, the size, stage, spread and relationship of the tumor with other organs are evaluated using radiological examinations such as ultrasound, computed tomography, MRI. In this way, the treatment method that will be applied is decided.
Early diagnosis and early treatment are the most important factors in the success of treating tongue cancers. In patients with early diagnosis and treatment, the 5-year disease-free life rate is 70%.
The main treatment method for tongue cancer is surgical removal of the tumor. But in patients with advanced and distant spread, treatments such as radiation therapy(radiation therapy) and chemotherapy are added to surgical treatment. What treatment to choose is determined by the general condition of the patient, the spread of the tumor, the type of tumor and the spread of the tumor to other tissues. The best result is achieved in patients who are caught at an early stage, have no spread and have a good general condition.
After surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, diet and speech, swallowing, physical and occupational rehabilitation therapies can be applied in order to improve the quality of life of patients.