When you think of cancer, cancer of the tongue isn’t usually the first type that comes to mind, but it isÂ one of the more common and serious types of mouth cancer. Tongue cancer is defined as a malignant tumor that begins as a small lump, a firm white patch, or a sore (ulcer) on the tongue. If untreated, the tumor may spread throughout the tongue to the floor of the mouth and to the gums.Â As a tumor grows, it becomes more life threatening by spreadingÂ to lymph nodes in the neck and possibly later to the rest of the body.
There are two parts to the tongue, the oral tongue and the base of the tongue.Â Tongue cancer can develop in either part.Â The oral tongue is the part which is visible when someone â€˜pokes the tongue outâ€™ at someone.Â This is the front two thirds of the tongue.Â Cancers that develop in this part of the tongue come under a group of cancers called mouth (oral) cancer.
Luckily three-quarters of these tumors are small and can be effectively treated by surgery or radiation. It mainly occurs in people who smoke cigarettes, pipes, or cigars or use smokeless tobacco. People who drink large amounts of alcohol and use tobacco are especially at risk. Tongue cancer is rare in people under age 40 and people who do not use tobacco or alcohol. It is most common after age 60.
Gentle Dental offers oral cancer screenings at all their locations. This screening includes the examination ofÂ the tongue for these types of tumors. To make an appointment callÂ 1-888-513-7436 and remember the earlier the detection the better the chance of saving your life!