Tongue Base Cancer
The base of tongue is part of the oropharynx, not the oral cavity. The oropharynx is part of the throat, which includes the tonsils, base of tongue, soft palate and posterior oropharyngeal wall.
Some doctors classify base of tongue cancer into the general category of throat cancer.
Like all head and neck cancers, base of tongue cancer (and oropharynx cancer in general) is often seen in older men who have a history of smoking and drinking. However, over the last decade doctors have been seeing more and more oropharyngeal cancers in patients who are younger, healthier and non-smokers. These patients often have large cancerous lymph nodes in the neck. When this happens, it is often associated with a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). Researchers are still figuring out the details about oropharynx cancer associated with HPV, but one thing is certain—it behaves quite differently than oropharyngeal cancers not associated with HPV. Generally, these patients have improved outcomes with current treatment strategies