Tongue Cancer

What is Tongue Cancer?

The tongue is divided into two parts. The front two-thirds of the tongue is known as the oral tongue and the remaining is known as the base tongue. Cancer in the oral tongue is a type of tongue cancer. Similar to other types of cancer, tongue cancer also has different stages. The earliest it is detected and treated, the easier it is to completely remove it. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of tongue cancer. These skin-like flat cells cover the mouth lining, throat, larynx, nose, and thyroid. Any cancer that occurs in these cells is known as squamous cell carcinoma. There are several causes of cancer, and smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are the most common of all. The exact cause of most oral cancers is unknown, but lifestyle habits are considered to be the main cause. Sexually contracted Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a factor that can lead to tongue cancer.


It is important to pay attention to signs or symptoms that do not appear normal. While some of the symptoms may be due to other medical conditions, it is always recommended to visit a specialist. The symptoms and signs of tongue cancer include:

  • Bleeding in the tongue without a known reason.
  • Pain or discomfort in swallowing.
  • A persistent sore throat.
  • A white or red patch on the tongue.
  • A lump, sore spot, or ulcer on the tongue.
  • A feeling of numbness in the mouth.
  • A rare symptom is a pain in the ears.




The causes of the tongue cancer are:

  • High-risk of HPV.
  • Poor oral health.
  • Heavy consumptions of alcohol and tobacco intake.
  • Cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Syphilis.




The main risks factors are:

  • Prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • Men are most likely to develop tongue cancer.
  • Fair skin.
  • People older than 45-50 years are at a higher risk.
  • Consumptions of alcohol and tobacco intake.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Weak immune system.



There is no proven way to prevent or avoid this disease completely, but the following ways help to lower the risks:

  • Healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco intake.
  • Good oral hygiene.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, our doctors will do a physical examination of the affected and surrounding areas. Diagnosis also includes an understanding of past illnesses, use of medications, and other similar aspec...

How is it treated?

At Medanta, our doctors may use several treatments to treat the disease, which may vary on a case-to-case basis. 


  • Surgery

    If the tumour is small, it may be easily removed through surgery. If the tumour is a large one, a part or all of the tongue may need to be removed. This may be followed by a reconstructive surgery. This surgery sometimes affects a person's speech and the ability to swallow.


  • Radiotherapy

    For larger tumours, a combination of surgery and radiotherapy is generally effective. In some cases, nodes from one or both sides of the neck need to be removed, also known as neck dissection. Radiotherapy helps remove any remaining cancer cells and also reduce the risk of cancer to recur.


  • Chemotherapy

     In this procedure, anticancer drugs are used to treat cancer. The treatment includes a medication or combination of medications. The goal of the treatment is to stop or slow the growth of cancerous cells.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should consult a doctor immediately, if you start to notice symptoms such as bleeding in the tongue, trouble in swallowing, sore throat, patches on the tongue, lump or ulcer on the tongue, etc.

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How does Medanta provide care?


Consult with experienced doctors

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