Tongue cancer – symptoms, causes and treatment

Cancer of the tongue, in the medical language as a tongue carcinoma, is a malignant disease. The head-neck Tumor occurs rarely, and especially in the early stages of the disease, good Prognosis. Affected are mainly people between the age of 50. and the 70. Years of age.

Table of contents

Cancer of the tongue – the local symptoms

To be caused, in particular, the beginning tongue cancer is hardly any symptoms. It is only when the disease continues to progress, notice of the Affected changes. Often the patients describe that they feel a foreign body sensation in the mouth or throat. Also burning Tongue or mouth burn can indicate a tongue tumor.

The symptoms of cancer of the tongue can initially be vague, such as, for example, a Burn, or foreign body sensation in the mouth. (Image: half point/

Characteristic for the malignant Tumor neck pain radiating to the ears. This can of course also occur in the context of a cold. Suspect neck pain that last longer than three to four weeks, and also without the typical accompanying symptoms of a common cold such as runny nose or coughing in their appearance. Depending on the size and localization of the tongue tumor, the patients suffer from difficulty swallowing. You also have problems when Speaking.

Under the tongue or in the areas to the side of the tongue the small wounds. Striking is that the sores heal, even after a period of approximately two weeks and/or always occur. Often develop also bleeding. Due to the hidden localization, these are often not noticed until late, for example, by a reddish discoloration of the saliva.

Another Symptom of tongue cancer, there is a swelling of the lymph nodes in the area of the lower jaw and on the neck. Similarly, the patients have, due to the disintegration of tumor cells, often have an unpleasant mouth odor. Tongue cancer can also alter the sense of Taste. Tastes are perceived differently or not at all.

B-symptoms associated with tongue cancer

In addition to these local complaints, many patients with a tumor disease systemic symptoms. You often feel tired and exhausted, and report a performance articulated with a pronounced feeling of weakness. A rapid and, above all, unwanted weight loss occurs, especially in the advanced stage of the disease.

Another Symptom of this so-called B-symptoms is also a welding of the night. The patients Wake up in the night bathed in sweat. The weld development is so strong that the sleepwear is from the sweat, although the duvet is not too thick and the temperature in the bedroom is optimal. The combination of nocturnal sweating, fever, and a significant, unintentional weight loss may also occur in inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV, but is also a Symptom of a tumor disease.

A frequent accompanying symptom of a tumor disease, in addition to General weakness, excessive sweating, especially at night. (Image: kolotype/

Cancer of the tongue – the appearance of

A tongue carcinoma can occur in very different Form and expression. The tongue edge is the most common location for the Tumor, a rare cancer tumor that occurs on the tongue back or at the base of the tongue. Often, the Tumor of the tongue from spreading to adjacent body structures such as the larynx. Especially tumors that are located in the rear part of the tongue, in the mouth and throat, severe tissue damage.

The tumors can lie flat in the tongue mucosa, as well as this stand out. Solid, ball-like structures occur, as well as hardened strands in the tongue.

Leukoplakia and Erythroplakia are also considered as the most important potentially malicious changes. They show up in many patients before the actual tongue tumor and are therefore also referred to as a Precancer. The leukoplakia is also available as a white calluses disease is known. Typical white spots on the mucous membrane, do not wipe. In the case of Erythroplakia, which has a higher risk of Degeneration are the spots, in contrast, reddish.

The causes for tongue cancer

A malignant Tumor is not, in most cases, only a single cause. Rather, it is a multifactorial Events. Among the possible causes of cancer of the tongue, among other things:

  • Smoking,
  • increased alcohol consumption
  • and lack of oral hygiene.

Smoking and alcohol

A influence seems to have the genetic predisposition. Although the cancer is not inherited, but the predisposition to the malignant disease. But far more of their own lifestyle affects the risk of cancer. The biggest risk factor for cancer of the tongue and Smoking. Without a doubt all smokers do not develop in the course of your life this type of cancer, however, are, or were, around 90 percent of all Patients and heavy smokers. The mixture from distillation and combustion products produced during the Burning of tobacco that contains more than 50 cancer-causing substances. These damage the DNA in the cells. The mucous membranes in the mouth to come in direct contact with the carcinogenic substances and are particularly vulnerable to suffer damage.

Especially in combination with alcohol dependence, Smoking is a major risk. Primarily high-proof alcohol such as brandy or brandy irritate the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. Who not only smokes, but also are frequently high-percentage alcohol drinks has a more than twice as high risk for the disease, as a sole smoker.

Smoking – especially in combination with alcohol – is considered to be one of the main factors for the development of cancer of the tongue. (Image: Rawf8/

Oral hygiene

In the formation of the tongue carcinoma of the oral hygiene also plays an important role. Mechanical irritation, for example due to incorrect fitting dentures or a sharp tooth edges, are a risk factor. Inadequate oral hygiene can not inflammation only to your gums but to skin inflammation of the tongue mucosa. This also increases the probability for a tongue carcinoma.

Tongue cancer caused by HPV

HPV is a common abbreviation for human papilloma virus. Only a few of the over 150 different viruses that belong to this group, increase the risk for cancer. Among these High-Risk types including HPV 16, 18, 45 and 31. Especially in the case of cervical cancer connection HPV-infections is known. In the case of tongue cancer, the risk of a malignant disease is assessed by an HPV infection, although rather low, but it is still present. Transmitted HPV is mainly through the skin or mucous membrane contact in the context of sexual acts. During oral sex the bacteria can get into the mouth and spread. HP viruses can also be transmitted through shared towels or hygiene products such as toothbrushes.

The treatment of tongue cancer

For the treatment of tongue cancer both conventional and alternative methods are available. They can be used individually or in combination, can be used.

Operative Treatment Procedures

Whether an Operation is possible, depends on the exact localization of the tumor. Also, metastasis to adjacent organs or lymph nodes must be considered. An Operation is suitable for the removal of small tumors located in the anterior, movable part of the tongue. Carcinoma of the tongue background have accessed in the rule on neighboring structures and to operate, therefore, more difficult to. Often it is not enough to remove all the parts of the tongue can be surgically. Also, the lower jaw must then be removed.

If the neck lymph nodes are affected by cancer, is carried out a so-called neck removal. In the case of the radical neck removal not only of the tongue tumor and the affected lymph nodes, but different muscles and nerves are removed. It is a more severe intervention, which is accompanied by a large loss of Tissue and, thus, also with many restrictions for the patient.

Depending on the location and metastasis of the tumor, surgical intervention is possible. In severe cases, muscles and nerves, or even the entire lower jaw must be removed. (Image: alfa27/

Radiation therapy for tongue cancer

Here a distinction can be made between a primary and a post-operative radiation therapy. The smaller the Tumor is, the easier it can be removed. For this reason, is performed before the surgical procedure, especially in the case of extensive cancer radiation therapy. By using the irradiation of the Tumor to shrink. In the case of a primary radiation therapy is only used for the irradiation. The primary radiation is particularly suitable for the treatment of small cancers in the early stages of the Disease.

Combination therapy – radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Current treatment approaches are mostly by a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy are used to shrink the tumor so that the surgeon can remove it easily and with a lower risk of complications.

Naturopathy for cancer of the tongue

In the case of tongue cancer surgery is a good forecast mostly unavoidable. Various therapies and resources from the naturopathic field, however, can be used in addition.

Nutrition therapy in cancer of the tongue

A nutrient-poor diet with a low proportion of fruit and vegetables is considered to be one of the risk factors for cancer. To recommend a varied diet with a high proportion of plant foods. In order to supply with vitamins, mineral substances, to ensure fiber and health-promoting secondary plant compounds, should be at least consumed three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit.

Fats from vegetable Oils and fish are not, or only in exceptional supply essential fatty acids and also Vitamin E. sugar or high sugar foods include, however, cases on the daily meal plan. Different foods can strengthen the immune system in a targeted manner. So contain a large amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants blueberries, for example. Antioxidants protect against harmful free Radicals that can alter the genetic material of the cells. Similar to the well-strawberries, raspberries, broccoli and garlic.

A balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can strengthen support for conventional therapy, or the Immunsytem and protective. (Image: Alexander Raths/

The oil-protein diet according to Johanna Budwig

The Oil-protein diet according to Johanna Budwig is frequently mentioned when it comes to the topic of nutrition in cancer. In this diet the patient should avoid animal products and foods that contain TRANS fats. Exceptions to this are low fat curd and cottage cheese. Part of the diet are juice, and a Quark-linseed oil Sauerkraut-food. This includes raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, buckwheat, flax seed, and freshly squeezed vegetables juices.

Mistletoe therapy in cancer treatment

The mistletoe therapy is one of the complementary procedure is used in the treatment of cancer the most common. The mistletoe contains a variety of ingredients such as mistletoe lectins and Viskotoxine, which can activate the body’s own immune system. Also to improve the General quality of life and reduce the side effects of conventional treatment, the mistletoe therapy is used. In the case of the mistletoe therapy, the doctor injects the patient with mistletoe extract under the skin. The frequency and duration of application depend on the mistletoe preparation, and on the other by the patient. The mistletoe preparations in the traditional herbal medicine contain a standardized quantity of active ingredients and are administered in a constant dose. Anthroposophy is that it takes account of the different mistletoe varieties and distinguishes between male and female plants. The dose remains here are not always the same, but is increased in the rule.

Stabilization of the Psyche with the Mind-Body medicine

Not only the body but also the Psyche is exposed to in the course of a cancer disease to a particular strain. The Mind-Body medicine based on a holistic concept of body, mind and soul. Not the disease itself, but, above all, the preservation of one’s own health is the focus here. Patients learn, how you deal with Stress, a sense of meaning in their lives and work on their emotions.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for cancer of the tongue

Another very popular alternative medical procedure in the treatment of cancer with TCM. This thousand-year-old treatment concept defines health and the causes of disease quite differently than Western medicine. To the traditional method of diagnosis is the tongue and pulse diagnosis, for example. Using herbal formulas, acupuncture, Tuina-Massage or acupressure is to restore the balance in the body and the body’s own forces to be strengthened. (fp)