What are the symptoms of tongue cancer?

The tongue is located in the mouth and consists of muscles; It is an organ that has functions such as chewing, swallowing, initiating digestion, speaking and tasting.

Cancer is defined as a malignant tumor that spreads starting from the cells in the layers known as epithelium that cover certain structures in the body.


As with many tissues in the body, tumors can sometimes be seen in the tongue. Mouth and tongue cancers are found on the lips, tongue or gums and usually threaten men over the age of 45. It is very important that people know about the types of cancer and their symptoms, because it can be vital to see a doctor and get a diagnosis as the person notices the symptoms themselves. Early diagnosis has a very important place in cancer types.

What is tongue cancer?

Tongue cancer is a type of oral cancer that usually occurs in epithelial cells on the surface of the tongue or from a different tissue in the body.

It progresses as the tissues with different functions that make up the language and the cells that make up these tissues grow and multiply in an uncontrolled way and damage the surrounding tissues and cells.

If this tumor in the tongue is not noticed in the early period and its treatment is not started, there is a risk of metastasis to the lymph nodes in the neck or to different organs in the body, and in this case the disease becomes much more serious.

In order to avoid this risk, we must have sufficient information about the types of cancer by experts and have our regular controls. In this way, our possibility of making an early diagnosis increases.

In the early stages of oral cancers, sometimes the symptoms are either absent or very mild, so diagnosis is very difficult. For this reason, mouth and tongue cancers are among the dangerous types of cancer and are the 8th most common cancer type.

People who smoke or drink alcohol are much more likely to have this cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that they be more careful against the symptoms.

Tongue cancers are the most common cancer types that can be seen in the mouth. Apart from the tongue, cancer can be seen in the base of the mouth — sublingual, gum and jaw bone (mandibula maxilla), cheek, tonsil — tonsil, hard and soft palates — small tongue (uvula) or lip parts.

What are the types of tongue and oral tumors?

Benign Tumors: Some tumors seen on the tongue are benign tumors called papilloma (warty tumor), fibroma and granuloma.
Malignant Tumors:

Squamous Cell (Epidermoid) Cancer: It is the most common tumor type in the epithelial layer on the surface of the tongue. This type of cancer is also the most common type among tumor types seen in the head and neck region.

The areas where tumors can be seen in the head and neck region are the nose, mouth (oral cavity), throat, pharynx (oropharynx), lower pharynx (hypopharynx) and larynx (larynx).

Mucoepidermoid Cancer: It is a type of tumor seen in salivary gland cells in microscopic sizes in the epithelial tissue on the surface of the tongue. Apart from the tongue, it can also originate from the epithelial tissues of different organs in the head and neck region. This tumor can also occur in the parotid (front of the ear), submandibular (under the jaw), sublingual (sublingual salivary glands) opening to the oral cavity. In this type of cancer, the symptom is usually swelling.

Adenocystic Cancer (Adenoid cystic cancer): As in the mucoepidermoid cancer type, it is seen in salivary gland cells in microscopic sizes within the epithelial tissue on the surface of the tongue. It occurs in areas where the mucoepidermoid cancer type can be seen, and likewise, its symptom is mostly seen as swelling.

What is the incidence of tongue cancer?

The incidence of tongue cancer among all oral cancers is 3%. It is the most common lip cancer among oral cancers, but tongue cancer comes second. It is very unlikely to occur in individuals under the age of 40, but the incidence increases gradually after the age of 60–70. In addition, it is more likely to be seen in men than women. This is because smoking and alcohol use is higher in men than women.

What are the causes of tongue and oral tumor or cancer?

Frequent use of cigarettes or other tobacco products,

Continuous and excessive alcohol consumption,

Problems in oral hygiene (such as untreated decayed teeth, gingivitis, tooth fractures, dental irregularities)

Dental prostheses that irritate the mucosa over time because they do not fit well,

Human papilloma virus (HPV) status,

It can be counted as betel chewing, which is common in the Southeast Asian region.

In some patients, these factors may not cause cancer. This situation should still be taken into account.

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