Tongue cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the tongue, and can cause lesions or tumors on your tongue. It's a type of head and neck cancer. Like other cancers, it happens when cells divide out of control and form a growth, or tumor. Tongue cancer is less common than many other types. Most people who get it are older adults. It's rare in children. Tongue cancer can occur on the front of the tongue, which is called "oral tongue cancer". Or it may occur at the base of the tongue, near where it attaches to the bottom of your mouth. This is called "oropharyngeal cancer."
We at CAN-C provide tongue cancer treatment in Bangalore.
Here, you will find information about signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors, types, diagnosis, staging and prevention about tongue cancer.
Symptoms of tongue cancer include:
A lump or sore on the side of your tongue that doesn't go away. It may be pinkish-red in color. Sometimes the sore will bleed if you touch or bite it.
Pain in or near your tongue
Changes in your voice, like sounding hoarse
A tongue ulcer that persists
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Things that may raise your chances of getting tongue cancer include:
Smoking or chewing tobacco use
Not taking care of your teeth and gums
Being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease
A poor diet
Types of tongue cancer are:
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): This is the most common type of tongue cancer which is flat, skin like cells that cover the lining of the mouth, nose, larynx, thyroid and throat. Squamous cell carcinoma is the name for a cancer that starts in these cells. Squamous cell carcinoma develops when some squamous cells mutate and become abnormal.
Verrucous carcinoma: Verrucous carcinoma, a type of very slow-growing cancer made up of squamous cells. This type of cancer rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but it may invade nearby tissue.
Minor salivary gland carcinomas: This disease includes several types of oral cancer that may develop on the minor salivary glands, which are located throughout the lining of the mouth and throat. These include adenoid cystic carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma and polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.
Lymphoma: Oral cancer like tongue cancer that develop in lymph tissue, which is part of the immune system, are known as lymphomas. The tonsils and base of the tongue both contain lymphoid tissue.
Benign oral cavity tumors: Several types of non-cancerous tumors and tumor-like conditions may develop in the oral cavity and oropharynx. Sometimes, these conditions may develop into cancer. For this reason, benign tumors are often surgically removed.
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To make a diagnosis, the doctor will take a medical history and patient's tongue and neck will be examined. Several tests are used to aid in the diagnosis. These tests include:
X-rays of the mouth and throat, including CT (computed tomography) scans (X-rays that show images in thin sections).
PET scans (positron emission tomography), which use radioactive materials to identify excessive activity in an organ. This may indicate the tumor is growing.
Tongue cancer usually requires a biopsy, a small sample of tissue that is removed from a tumor to diagnose cancer. There are different methods to obtain a biopsy:
1. Fine needle aspiration biopsy: A thin needle is inserted into the tumor mass and a sample is drawn out by suction into a syringe.
2. Incisional biopsy: A sample is removed with a scalpel (surgical knife).
3. Punch biopsy: A small circular blade removes a round area of tissue.
Staging is a way of describing where a cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. The staging system most often used for tongue cancers is the TNM system, which is based on 3 key pieces of information:
The extent of the tumor (T): How large is the main (primary) tumor and which, if any, tissues of the oral cavity or oropharynx it has spread to?
The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N): Has the cancer spread to nearby lymph nodes?
The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M): Has the cancer spread to distant organs such as the lungs?
We provide tongue cancer treatment (in Bangalore) with personalized care and support.
You can reduce your risk of tongue cancer by avoiding activities that can lead to tongue cancer, and by taking care of your mouth. To reduce your risk:
Don't smoke or chew tobacco
Don't drink, or drink only occasionallyc
Don't chew betel
Get a full course of the HPV vaccine
Practice safe sex, especially oral sex
Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet
Make sure that you brush your teeth daily and floss regularly
See a dentist once every six months, if possible
The main treatments for tongue cancer are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, either combined or on their own. Your treatment depends on how far your cancer has grown and whether it has spread. It also depends on which part of the tongue is affected. We develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient's specific type of tongue cancer.
Several types of operations can be used to treat tongue cancer. Depending on where the cancer is and its stage, different operations may be used to remove the cancer. Surgery is often the first treatment used for these cancers. It's most commonly used for early stage cancers, those that are small and haven't spread.
After cancer is removed, reconstructive surgery can be done to help restore the appearance and function of the areas affected by the cancer or cancer treatment.
Tumor resection: In a tumor resection, the entire tumor and a margin (edge) of normal-looking tissue around it is removed (resected). The margin of normal tissue is taken out to reduce the chance of any cancer cells being left behind.
The main (primary) tumor is removed using a method based on its size and location. For example, if a tumor is in the front of the mouth, it might be relatively easy to remove it through the mouth. But a larger tumor (especially when it has grown into the oropharynx) may need to be removed through an incision (cut) in the neck or by cutting the jaw bone with a special saw to get to the tumor. (This is called a mandibulotomy.)
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Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or particles to destroy cancer cells or slow their rate of growth. Radiation therapy can be used in many ways to treat tongue cancers:
1. It can be used as the main treatment for small cancers.
2. People with larger cancers may need both surgery and radiation therapy or a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy or a targeted drug.
3. After surgery, radiation therapy can be used, either alone or with chemotherapy, as an additional (adjuvant) treatment to try to kill any cancer cells that might not have been removed during surgery. This is called adjuvant radiation therapy.
4. Radiation may be used (along with chemotherapy) to try to shrink some larger cancers before surgery. This is called neoadjuvant therapy. In some cases, this makes it possible to use less extensive surgery and remove less tissue.
5. Radiation therapy can also be used to help ease symptoms of advanced cancer, such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, and problems caused by bone metastases (cancer that has spread to bones).
External beam radiation therapy: The most common way to give radiation for these cancers is to carefully focus a beam of radiation from a machine outside the body. This is called external beam radiation therapy or EBRT.
Brachytherapy: Another way to deliver radiation is by placing radioactive materials right into or near the cancer. This is called internal radiation, interstitial radiation, or brachytherapy. The radiation travels only a very short distance, which limits its effects on nearby normal tissues.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of anti-cancer drugs to treat cancer. For oral cavity cancer like tongue cancer, the drugs are given into a vein or taken by mouth, which allows them to enter the bloodstream and reach cancer that has spread throughout the body.
Chemo may be used in several different situations:
1. Chemo (typically combined with radiation therapy) may be used instead of surgery as the main treatment for some cancers. (This is called chemoradiation.)
2. Chemo (combined with radiation therapy) may be given after surgery to try to kill any small deposits of cancer cells that may have been left behind. This is known as adjuvant chemotherapy.
3. Chemo (sometimes with radiation therapy) may be used to try to shrink some larger cancers before surgery. This is called neoadjuvant or induction chemotherapy. In some cases, this makes it possible to use less radical surgery and remove less tissue. This can lead to fewer serious side effects from surgery.
4. Chemo (with or without radiation therapy) can be used to treat cancers that are too large or have spread too far to be removed by surgery. The goal is to slow the growth of the cancer for as long as possible and to help relieve any symptoms the cancer is causing.
The goal of the centre is to provide patients with the highest level of care, in a compassionate dedicated to providing the most advanced tongue cancer treatment (in Bangalore) available today.
Targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy (chemo) drugs.
Cetuximab (Erbitux®) is a man-made version of an immune system protein, called a monoclonal antibody. It targets a protein on the surface of certain cells called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that helps cells grow and divide. By blocking EGFR, cetuximab can help slow or stop cell growth.
Cetuximab may be combined with radiation therapy for some earlier stage cancers. For more advanced cancers, it may be combined with standard chemo drugs such as cisplatin, or it may be used by itself. Cetuximab is given by infusion into a vein (IV).
Immunotherapy is the use of medicines that help a person's own immune system find and destroy cancer cells. It can be used to treat some people with oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors: An important part of the immune system is its ability to keep itself from attacking normal cells in the body. To do this, it uses "checkpoints" - proteins on immune cells that need to be turned on (or off) to start an immune response. Cancer cells sometimes use these checkpoints to avoid being attacked by the immune system. But newer drugs that target these checkpoints hold a lot of promise as cancer treatments.
Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are drugs that target PD-1, a protein on immune system cells called T cells that normally helps keep these cells from attacking other cells in the body. By blocking PD-1, these drugs boost the immune response against cancer cells. This can shrink some tumors or slow their growth.
These drugs can be used after chemotherapy in people with tongue cancer that has returned after treatment or that has spread to other parts of the body. These drugs are given as an intravenous (IV) infusion.
CAN-C: Highly considerable centre for tongue cancer treatment in Bangalore.
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