Is tongue cancer curable

Tongue cancer

What is tongue cancer?

Tongue cancer is a malignant remodeling of the cells that make up the lining of the tongue. This means that these cells multiply in an uncontrolled manner and damage other healthy tissue.

Tongue cancer can develop in the front, visible part of the tongue or on the base of the tongue, which can only be seen with a mirror. Overall, tongue cancer is quite rare and mainly affects older people with risk factors.

Causes and Risk Factors

The main risk factors for developing tongue cancer include tobacco consumption and (excessive) drinking of alcoholic (especially high-proof) beverages.

Other favorable factors are chronic inflammation in the oral cavity, poor oral hygiene and the presence of so-called high-risk HP viruses (by the way, these human papillomaviruses are also for Cervical cancers responsible).

It is important here that the above-mentioned factors do not represent compelling causes of cancer, but merely increase the risk of getting sick. Therefore, a genetic susceptibility can also be assumed.

How do you notice tongue cancer?

Tongue cancer can have few symptoms or go unnoticed for a long time. Possible abnormalities are long-lasting pain in the tongue / throat, a foreign body sensation, difficulty swallowing, new bad breath or longer-lasting reddish or white coatings on the tongue, which may also bleed easily.

In the later stages of such a disease, general symptoms such as tiredness, sweating or unwanted weight loss can also occur. Tongue cancer may also be noticed during a visit to the dentist, during which the dentist examines the mouth area closely.


The diagnosis can be made by having an ear, nose and throat doctor examine the tongue (using a mirror, among other things) and take a small sample from a suspicious area. This is then viewed under the microscope.

In addition, an imaging procedure is then used to better assess the extent of the spread. Various methods can be used here (e.g. Sonography (Ultrasonic), Computed tomography (CT) or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ). This enables a reliable diagnosis to be made and the appropriate therapy to be initiated.

Tongue cancer therapy

The primary therapy consists in the surgical removal of the affected area. In the case of far-reaching spread, irradiation and / or chemotherapy to be necessary. In addition, you should always avoid harmful substances (tobacco and alcohol).

Rehabilitation, chances of recovery and prognosis

As with other cancers, the prognosis depends on the spread of the cancer. If there are settlements in lymph nodes on the neck or other body regions (metastases), the prognosis is significantly worse.

Otherwise, the cancer can be completely removed during an operation. Reconstruction of the tongue may be necessary here. If this is the case, rehabilitation is often required after the operation to practice speaking and swallowing.

Which doctor is a specialist in tongue cancer?

Basically, an ear, nose and throat doctor is the primary contact for diseases of the tongue and he can also initiate the appropriate treatment for tongue cancer.

We help you to find an expert for your illness. All listed doctors and clinics have been checked by us for their outstanding specialization in the area of ​​tongue cancer and are awaiting your inquiry or your treatment request.

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