Tongue Cancer Treatment Options
Oropharyngeal cancer or tongue cancer could be the most serious form of cancer in the mouth. This condition is not only limited to smokers. There are many tongue cancer treatment options according to the disease condition. Any individual can get mouth or tongue cancer, although people using tobacco products, smokers and the adults older than 45 to 50 years are at a greater risk for the infection according to the ‘Cancer Treatment Centers of America’. Tongue cancer signs include abnormal lumps or spots, usually white or red in color on the tongue, discomfort while eating or a chronic sore throat. A change in the voice and ear aches are the symptoms which indicate tongue cancer. In this article, there is a brief discussion on the treatment options for tongue cancer.
Tongue cancer treatment options
The treatment options for the tongue cancer are mapped according to the disease condition, whether it has spread within the mouth or is localized inside the mouth. The options for the tongue cancer treatment are listed below.
1. Tumor removal
- In the tongue cancer treatment, the first step is to remove the tumors from the tongue.
- Early detection of the condition plays a vital role in the efficiency of the surgery, both in the terms of entire tumor removal and in retaining the function of the other muscles and tongue inside the mouth.
- With the technological advancing, doctors now use Laser cautery, a procedure which involves the small growth removal from the tongue.
- The procedure laser cautery is much less invasive than those other more open types of surgery, which helps in cutting down the recovery time of the condition.
- After the tumors removal with the laser cautery or other procedures, the tongue cancer treatment includes radiation.
- It uses X-rays with very high intensities of radiations which kill all the remaining cancer cells inside the mouth (tongue and surrounding infected areas).
- Oncologists may use Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT , it’s a process which focuses on the areas or parts of the body which are more sensitive, such as eyes, tongue or bladder.
- The treatment with IMRT might also be able to help save the salivary glands functioning, which can be damaged with the traditional radiation treatment options.
- The cancer on the tongue which is not caught early might have spread and infected the nearby lymph nodes inside the neck and other parts of the body. In such cases, the patient requires Chemotherapy.
- The chemotherapy can be administered intravenously (liquid dosage form) or can be taken orally (solid dosage form) such as medications.
- Traditional chemotherapy for the oral cancers is generally given at one time and in a few large doses, which causes many severe side effects. These include weakness, hair loss and vomiting.
- Patients need to discuss the possibility of the metronomic chemotherapy option for the tongue cancer treatment, which splits the chemotherapy treatment into certain smaller doses and also reduces the side effects, sometimes.
4. Reconstructive surgery
- Reconstructive surgery is the treatment option for the patients suffering with oropharyngeal cancer, after the removal of the tumors with laser cautery and completion of radiation therapy.
- This option can help patient to regain the tongue function as well as to recreate the look of a healthy tongue in order to allay or fulfill cosmetic concerns.
- A kind of reconstruction surgery referred to as a Beavertailhas been developed by the Canadian doctors.
- In this procedure, the tissues from the arms of the patients are used for recreating the truncated portions of their tongue.
- This beavertail surgery was effective in about 95% of the patients who were observed for about a year after the surgery. The effectiveness was measured on how the patients were able to regain their ability of their tongue to swallow.
5. Rehabilitation therapy
- This is the final procedure in the treatment of the tongue cancer and this comes in the form of speech, physical and occupational therapy.
- Usually, in this kind, therapists teach patients about how to use their tongues and how to speak, eat, swallow normally.
- However, local therapists might not have the idea or the experience which is needed to teach patients who have undergone tongue surgery.
- But, medical facilities in the large metropolitan university settings or areas are likely to be able to handle the patients well and also benefit them most.
- The number of visiting sessions for the patients in order to be able re-learn to speak and swallow will depend on the range of the patient’s tongue cancer.
The above article discusses about the tongue cancer treatment options.