Tongue cancer is a type of oral cancer. Cancer that is located in the anterior two thirds of the tongue is also known as oral tongue cancer which tends to be diagnosed early and is easily removed. Cancer that is located in the posterior one third of the tongue is categorized as hypopharyngeal tongue cancer.
Cancer at the posterior one third of the tongue is usually diagnosed at a more advanced stage where the cancer is larger and has a higher risk of spread. These different subtypes of tongue cancer may have different treatment protocols. Tongue cancer usually originates from the squamous cells. Squamous cells are flat, thin cells that cover the surface of the tongue.
Since tongue cancer is a type of oral cancer, the signs and symptoms of tongue cancer can be similar to symptoms of other types of oral cancer. Some of the treatments for tongue cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy.
Symptom #1: Persistent Sore
A persistent sore on the tongue is one of the earliest symptoms of squamous cell cancer. The sore can be described to be pinkish red, persistent, and does not seem to heal over time. The sore is also often described to bleed easily if touched or bitten.
A persistent non-healing sore should be seen by a medical professional to rule out cancer especially if the affected individual is more than 50 years old.