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Cancer of the tongue most often affects men who abuse alcohol and smoke tobacco. Cancer of the tongue is highly malignant and metastasizes at an early stage of development, which worsens the patient's prognosis. What causes tongue cancer? How to recognize its symptoms? What is the treatment?

Cancer of the tongue , next to cancer of the floor of the mouth and soft palate, is the most common cancer of the oral cavity. The disease affects men more often (they account for 70% of patients treated) than women and mainly affects middle-aged and elderly people (the greatest incidence of tongue cancers occurs in the sixth-seventh decade of life). According to the data of the National Cancer Registry, malignant neoplasms of the tongue are a rare neoplasm in Poland, accounting for about 0.5% of men. cases, in women about 0.1 percent. The number of cases of malignant neoplasms of the tongue in 2010 was 600, of which 439 in men and 161 in women.

Cancer of the tongue - causes and risk factors

Smoking and alcohol abuse are considered to be the most important risk factors for the development of cancer of the tongue and floor of the mouth. In some parts of the world (Southeast Asia), people who chew betel nut and consume snuff are highly likely to develop this cancer.

Tongue cancer was also diagnosed in people who were infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV)

Secondary factors are the lack of oral hygiene and incorrectly selected dentures that irritate the tongue.

Cancer of the tongue can also develop as a result of precancerous changes, such as:

  • erythroplasia - velvety red spots
  • leukoplakia - white plaques or stains on the oral mucosa that cannot be removed
  • lichen planus - can look like a red, non-ulcerative blister or blister that can rupture to form uneven sores
  • submucosal fibrosis - manifested by intense burning and blistering, especially in the palate and tongue

Cancer of the tongue - symptoms

The cancer of the tongue may appear as leukoplakia (white spots) thickening or superficial ulcerations that are usually found on the side of the tongue. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as:

  • painwhen swallowing which radiates to the ear
  • food intake disorders
  • cough

Cancer of the tongue often metastasizes to regional lymph nodes, first in the upper cervical nodes

  • difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • restriction of language mobility
  • drooling
  • szczękościsk
  • hoarseness
  • stinging in the ear
  • slurred speech
  • shortness of breath
  • hemoptysis
  • weight loss
  • anorexic
  • difficulties in communicating freely
  • noticeable lump in the neck (when the tumor reaches the lymph nodes)

Cancer of the tongue - diagnosis

  • touch the lymph nodes to see if they are already affected by the disease
  • taking tumor specimens for histopathological examination, which will eventually confirm or rule out tongue cancer
  • computed tomography that will assess the size of the tumor

Cancer of the tongue - treatment

In the initial stage of tongue cancer, the therapy consists of surgical removal of the tumor. Treatment of cancer in an advanced stage of development requires surgery and radiotherapy.

Cancer of the tongue - prognosis

According to the data of the National Cancer Registry, among patients diagnosed with tongue cancers in 2000-2002, 1-year survival rates were 54.9%. in men and 72.9 percent. in women. Among men diagnosed in 2003-2005, the 1-year survival rate was 59.4%, and among women 66.5%.

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