Under Tongue Cancer is not a common malady, which makes it all the more terrifying when it appears.
What is Under Tongue Cancer?
Under Tongue cancer is a malignant oral cancer that normally starts in squamous cells on the surface of tongue or the floor of mouth (sometimes under the tongue). Once cancer has taken over these cells, it can continue to spread throughout the mouth and metastasize in other organs of the body.
Usually, under tongue cancer, a type of oral cancer, means cancer on the floor of the mouth under the tongue. Other oral cancers include tongue and throat cancer.
What are the Risk Factors for Under Tongue Cancer?
Under tongue cancer (and all other types of cancer) is not “catchable” or contagious in any way; however, there are common risk factors that could lead to under tongue cancer.
First, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women, and most cases of under tongue cancer are found in people over the age of 40, especially after 60.
The heavy use of tobacco products (smoking, chewing, or snuffing of any sort) increases the possibility of under tongue cancer. Alcohol consumption is also highly related to under tongue cancer.
Studies have shown that the more alcohol consumed, the higher the risk of oral cancer. And 3 out of 4 people who have tongue cancer, or other types of oral cancer smoke, consume large amounts of alcohol, or both smoke and drink regularly.
Regular exposure to the sun without sunscreen of some sort can increase the risk of oral cancers beginning on the lips and then spreading to the tongue. Contracting another type of head or neck cancer and recovering can increase the risk for under tongue cancer.
What are Symptoms of Under Tongue Cancer?
Under tongue cancer does not always look the same when it begins. Tumors may appear on different parts of the tongue in different sizes and shapes, so it is important to be aware of any unusual red or white patches in the mouth.
At first, cancerous tongue spots may not hurt; though, they could quickly turn into ulcers that bleed easily. Also watch for sores, bumps under the tongue or cheek, a sore throat, unexplained bleeding, bad breath, drooling, difficulty speaking, or other unusual symptoms that do not heal on their own within two weeks.
If you notice any of these symptoms persistently, see a doctor. Infections and other disease can cause similar symptoms, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Only a biopsy can reveal whether cancerous cells are growing in the mouth.
What are Treatments for Under Tongue Cancer?
Treatments for under tongue cancer vary depending on the stage and severity of the cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are all possibilities that your doctor may suggest if you have under tongue cancer.
Be aware that tongue cancer is highly curable if caught early, so pay attention to your tongue! In the mean time, there are some things you can do to lower your risks for tongue cancer and improve your oral health.
The highest risk factors are smoking and drinking, thus taking steps to reduce or quit smoking and drinking alcohol would greatly lower your chances of oral cancer.
When going outside, use lip blam with sunscreen to prevent cancer on your lips. In general, eating more fruits and vegetables can improve your immune system and keep you from having as many health problems, including cancers.
Also, make sure you have good oral hygiene habits. Brushing your tongue regularly can keep your tongue healthy. The best tongue brush is the Orabrush. It removes bad breath causing bacteria and keeps your tongue from contracting harmful infections.
Though the Orabrush can’t guarantee you won’t have under tongue cancer, it can improve the health of your tongue. And healthier tongues are happier tongues.