Tongue cancer is a malignant transformation of the cells that form the tongue.
Many types of cancer can harm the tongue, but tongue cancer often starts in the thin, flat squamous cells lining the tongue’s surface. The type of cells affected in your tongue cancer helps determine your prognosis and treatment.
Where your tongue cancer occurs also impacts your treatment. Tongue cancer can occur:
- In the mouth, it may be more likely to see and feel oral tongue cancer. This type of tongue cancer inclines is diagnosed when the cancer is slight and more easily eliminated through surgery.
- Tongue cancer may develop in the throat and at the tongue base with few signs and symptoms (hypopharyngeal tongue cancer). Cancer at the tongue base is usually analyzed at a developed stage when the tumor is immense and has extended into the lymph nodes in the neck.
- Increasingly, cancers at the tongue base are associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), which profoundly affects the prognosis and treatment of cancer.
Tongue cancer treatment typically involves surgery to remove cancer. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy also may be recommended.
Treatment for advanced tongue cancers can affect your ability to speak and eat. Functioning with a skilled rehabilitation team can help you manage changes resulting from tongue cancer treatment.
However, before doctors treat tongue cancer patients, they need to do a few steps of diagnosis and staging of tongue cancer to assess further treatment. Here we can get to know brief details about the diagnosis and staging of tongue cancer.
Diagnosis And Staging Of Tongue Cancer
The diagnosis and staging of tongue cancer are made by inspection and taking a biopsy of the suspicious lesion. The extension study is completed with a good physical examination, where the doctor can see if there are sores or ulcers in the area, recommending a dental and nutritional assessment of the patient.
Diagnosis Of The Cancer
Diagnosis of tongue cancer involves several steps to determine the disease’s presence, type, and stage.
The doctor will examine the tongue, mouth, and neck to look for signs of a tumor or other abnormalities.
If a suspicious area is found, a biopsy will be performed to remove a tissue sample for laboratory analysis. It will determine whether the cells are cancerous and what type of cancer they are.
Imaging tests such as MRI scans, X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans may be performed to get a better view of the tumor and to see if it has extended spread to other body parts.
Staging Of The Cancer
Staging of tongue cancer is a way of describing the extent of the disease and its spread. It is based on the tumor size, its location, and whether it has spread to nearby tissues or other body parts.
The most commonly used staging system for tongue cancer is the TNM system, which stands for Tumor, Node, and Metastasis.
Tumor (T) Stage
It describes the size of the primary tumor and how deeply it has invaded the tongue.
Node (N) Stage
It describes whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Metastasis (M) Stage
It describes whether cancer has spread to other body parts.
Based on the T, N, and M stages, tongue cancer is categorized into stages I through IV, with stage IV being the most advanced.
Treatment options and prognosis depend on the stage and type of tongue cancer and the patient’s overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the successful outcome chances from tongue cancer.