Tongue Cancer Symptoms and Early Signs
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Tongue cancer can be classified into oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Tongue has two parts, the base of the tongue and the oral tongue. Cancerous tumor may develop in either parts of your tongue. When the tumor develops in the front two third of your tongue (can be seen when you poke the tongue out), the cancer falls under the category of oral or mouth cancer. The back third of the tongue is referred as the base of the tongue and this part is very near to the throat. Tumor developed in this part of tongue is categorized into oropharyngeal cancers. Tongue cancer symptoms in both the categories of cancers are quite similar.
Some major oral cancer symptoms that can be observed include a red or white spot on the gums, tongue or in the lining of the oral cavity. Other tongue cancer symptoms involve pain while chewing, discomfort during swallowing and soreness in the throat or tongue that does not go away. Some more signs of tongue or mouth cancer include change in voice, pain in the ear, numbness, pain or abnormal bleeding from the mouth. Although, some of these signs may mimic other not so harmful disease, still they need to be diagnosed by the doctor in order to avoid its metastases.
What are the symptoms of tongue cancer?
Identifying the tongue cancer early signs is an ideal weapon to defend against this medical condition. When a person develops tongue cancer, he or she may show more than one sign that indicates an abnormal condition. Knowing stages of tongue cancer is the first major step to cure cancer. In this case, visiting the doctor immediately can be helpful, since tongue cancer detection and treatment at early stage may increase the survival rate of the patient. Early stage detection also helps to cure the disease completely in some cases.
So, what signs you should look for to identify the presence of tongue cancer?
- Red and white patches on the tongue
You may observe white and red spots on your tongue or in the lining of the mouth that lasts for long without healing (they seem permanent).
- Presence of an ulcer, lesions or lump on the tongue
Any type of lump, ulcer or abnormal growth may be a warning of the development of cancer cells. A cancerous ulcer may develop on the upper part or at the base of the tongue where the tongue rests in the mouth. Although a lump, ulcer or lesion does not always develop due to the cancer, still they need to be checked out by the doctor. They may indicate the tongue cancer early signs. Your doctor may take a sample of the lump to diagnose whether it is due to the cancerous growth. If tongue cancer is caught in the initial stage, it is curable and if it is left untreated it may get spread into other body organs thus decreasing your life expectancy.
- Sores in the mouth that does not heal
A sore in the mouth may also develop by eating a hot taco which may burn the roof of your mouth or tongue. If the sore goes in two or three days, probably there is nothing to worry about it, but, if the sore does not goes away in a week, you need a medical checkup. A sore that does not heal can be considered as one of the tongue cancer early signs.
- Difficulty in swallowing:
If you experience difficulty in swallowing for one or two days, do not panic as it may be due to bad cold or some other medical condition. If this situation persists for more than five days, it needs a medical attention.
- Pain while chewing :
If it hurts while chewing the food often and there is no other cause of soreness, then it might be due to the development of cancerous tumor on the tongue.
- Change in voice :
If you feel that your tongue is swollen and your voice has noticeably changed, you need a medical attention although it may not be necessarily due to the cancer.
- Numbness in the oral cavity:
Cancerous cells destroy the nerves cells rapidly as it spreads. If you experience numbness on the top or under the tongue that does not go, it may be an early indication of tongue cancer.
- Bleeding from the oral cavity:
If your tongue or any part inside the mouth is not hurt, but still it bleeds often, you need to consult a doctor, as it may be due to cancerous growth on your tongue.
Usually, men who are used to tobacco chewing, alcohol consumption, and are above 40 years, need a medical oral check up on a regular basis, since they are at high risk of developing tongue cancer. All the above abnormal conditions can be considered as tongue cancer early signs or tongue cancer symptoms, which need a medical attention immediately.