Tongue Cancer

The tongue is actually a large muscle in the mouth that has two parts, the oral tongue is the part that is visible inside the mouth that is used to speak and eat, while the base of the tongue is farther back, and is part of the throat. When we talk about tongue cancer, we usually mean cancers of the oral tongue. However, for clarity it is often best to designate a lesion as arising either in the oral tongue or the base of tongue. Excessive tobacco and alcohol use are both known to contribute to the development of tongue cancer. Symptoms of tongue cancer include painful sores or ulcers that may bleed easily or make it difficult to speak. If a patient feels a new growth on their tongue, with or without these symptoms, it is a good idea for them to see a doctor to get it checked out.  A biopsy may be necessary to determine if the growth is cancerous, and further evaluation with an MRI or a CT scan may be required. The treatment for tongue cancers is usually surgery, sometimes followed by radiation, and occasionally chemotherapy.