Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is the Treatment for a Tongue Tumor?

Treating a tongue tumor typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, tailored to the tumor's size, location, and stage. Early detection is key to a successful outcome. Post-treatment, speech therapy may be necessary. Each patient's journey is unique. How does this personalized approach impact recovery? Continue with us to understand the nuances of tongue tumor treatment.
Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

A tongue tumor is an abnormal growth in the tissue of the tongue. This type of tumor can be found either toward the front of the tongue, known as the oral tongue, or at the base of the tongue. An oral tongue tumor is usually treated with surgery, and sometimes radiation may be necessary. Doctors typically treat a tumor at the base of the tongue with radiation and chemotherapy, before resorting to surgery. Surgical reconstruction and speech therapy may also be necessary, since the surgery and the tumor itself can cause problems, such as speech difficulties.

The term oral tongue typically refers to the part of the tongue that a person can move, or the front of the tongue. Tumors are most common on this portion of the tongue. These types of tumors usually develop on the side of the tongue.

Surgical reconstruction is almost always necessary after removing a tongue tumor.
Surgical reconstruction is almost always necessary after removing a tongue tumor.

Surgery is usually the first course of treatment for an oral tongue tumor. This is especially true if the tumor is rather small. Doctors may opt to use radiation to get rid of a larger tumor, on the other hand. Sometimes, a combination of these treatments will be used.

A tongue tumor can also be found growing at the base of the tongue. Larger tumors are usually found in this area. This occurs because there is more tissue in this area, so the tumor will generally not be noticed when it is small.

Since they are larger, tongue tumors at the base of the tongue are typically treated with radiation and chemotherapy first. Surgery to remove the tongue tumor may follow. A combination of these treatment options may also be necessary.

The tongue enables humans to speak and swallow.
The tongue enables humans to speak and swallow.

If a tongue tumor is malignant, or cancerous, there is a chance that the cancer will spread to other parts of the body. Usually, the cancer will spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. This will typically happen in the later stages of cancer. In this case, removal of these lymph nodes may be necessary as well.

Surgical reconstruction is almost always necessary after removing a tongue tumor. During these procedures, a surgeon will attempt to repair any damage to the tongue. This is done to prevent any cosmetic abnormalities. It is also done to ensure that a patient's speech and swallowing abilities are not impacted.

Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing tongue cancer, which may manifest as a tumor on the tongue.
Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing tongue cancer, which may manifest as a tumor on the tongue.

The tongue is the organ that enables humans to speak and swallow. Many times, a patient will need therapy after having a tongue tumor removed. Speech therapy can help a patient correct any speech abnormalities. Other types of physical therapy may help a patient learn how to overcome swallowing difficulties.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

anon990555

I was told by my doctor today that I have a tumor on the base of my tongue. I had been having issues swallowing and had a major bleeding event. The bleeding was thought to be from my sinus and the swallowing wasn't much of an issue but I decided to get a good follow up exam. I am getting a CT scan in a couple of days so they can see exactly what it looks like and then a biopsy. Hopefully it's early enough to get rid of it.

ddljohn

@bluedolphin-- White and red lesions, thickening of the tissue, soreness are some symptoms. I think some people also have issue swallowing or have a feeling as though something is stuck in the throat.

The thing is though, these symptoms may not be noticed until later. Lesions can be difficult to spot, especially if one is not looking out for them. And soreness, pain, numbness may not occur till later.

bluedolphin

@ddljohn-- You're right. Do you know what the early signs and symptoms of tongue cancer are?

Tongue cancer is very scary because we can't speak without it. We can't even swallow or chew properly without it.

ddljohn

I knew someone who had oral cancer including a tongue tumor. I think cancer started on the tongue and spread to the rest of the mouth and the jaw. In his case, the cancer was too advanced and chemotherapy and radiation wasn't enough. So a part of the tongue and jaw had to be removed. He was in the hospital for months because he could not eat on his own and had to be fed.

I urge people to look out for signs of oral cancer and see a doctor as soon as it occurs. Early diagnosis is very, very important. Especially those with an increased risk, such as those with cancer in their family and people who smoke need to be extra careful.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Surgical reconstruction is almost always necessary after removing a tongue tumor.
      By: llhedgehogll
      Surgical reconstruction is almost always necessary after removing a tongue tumor.
    • The tongue enables humans to speak and swallow.
      By: yanmingzhang
      The tongue enables humans to speak and swallow.
    • Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing tongue cancer, which may manifest as a tumor on the tongue.
      By: illustrez-vous
      Smoking cigarettes may increase an individual's risk of developing tongue cancer, which may manifest as a tumor on the tongue.
    • Radiation and chemotherapy are commonly used to treat tumors at the base of the tongue.
      By: nebari
      Radiation and chemotherapy are commonly used to treat tumors at the base of the tongue.
    • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment may cause hair loss in some patients.
      By: prudkov
      Chemotherapy and radiation treatment may cause hair loss in some patients.
    • Untreated tongue cancer may spread to the lymph nodes in the neck.
      By: JackF
      Untreated tongue cancer may spread to the lymph nodes in the neck.
    • A biopsy may be conducted to determine whether a tongue tumor is malignant or benign.
      By: kromleh
      A biopsy may be conducted to determine whether a tongue tumor is malignant or benign.