Tongue Cancer Treatment

Tongue cancer treatment is successful when started at an early stage of the disease. Some symptoms of tongue cancer can be detected easily, whereas, some are difficult to identify. It is essential that you inform your doctor, if you have the smallest doubt about the symptoms you are experiencing, mild or severe.

Tongue cancer treatment depends largely on the stage at which the diagnosis is made, the severity of the disease and its spread. Tongue cancer treatment options include: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, re-constructive surgery and rehabilitation.

• Surgery:

Surgery is the most recommended and widely used tongue cancer treatment. The location, size and extent of the cancer influence the procedure. Small tumors in the tongue can be excised using laser cautery. This procedure eliminates the entire tumor, without having an impact on the tongue’s functions. If the tumor is deep, excision of the surrounding lymph nodes is advocated.

• Radiation therapy:

Surgical excision of the mass is followed by radiation therapy. Radiation therapy helps annihilate cancer cells that may have been left behind after the surgery. The cancer cells are exposed to high energy X-rays that destroy any remaining tumor cells. Electronic beams and radio-isotopes may also be utilized to destroy tumor cells. The patient may be given 2 types of radiation therapy; internal as well as external.

• Chemotherapy:

Tongue cancer treatment via chemotherapy is required in cases, where the cancer is no longer localized, and may have spread to the surrounding structures and lymph nodes. Oncologists administer chemotherapy orally or through the vein. Chemotherapy tongue cancer treatment uses drugs to destroy the tumor cells.

• Reconstructive surgery:

Reconstructive surgery becomes necessary to preserve or re-instate functions of the tongue, such as, chewing, swallowing, and speech, after the surgery. Reconstructive surgery restores the normal structure of the tongue, as well, since; it may have altered after excision of the tumor. The surgery improves the facial appearance and re-establishes the functions, after the surgery.

• Rehabilitation:

Rehabilitation is a very important aspect of tongue cancer treatment. Nutritionists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, experts in swallowing therapy, and occupational therapy, help the patient with the rehabilitation. The number of therapy sessions that the patient needs depends on the severity of the condition and the extent of the side effects of the various treatment procedures. Patients are taught how to chew, swallow, talk and maintain their normal functions.

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