A very dear friend just lost her sister to tongue cancer. It was something that they found just before Thanksgiving, and she died early this morning,
despite surgery, chemo and radiation at one of the best cancer hospitals in the country.
She was never a smoker, or a tobacco user of any kind. She was just 52, a wife and a mother of two.
Apparently, she had noticed something strange on her tongue, but waited too long to get it checked out. Had she gone earlier, it might have saved her life.
As I'd never heard much about it, I was surprised to find out that after skin cancer, tongue cancer is the next most common cancer of the head. Here's a page on it from M.D. Anderson:
Here's the description of the symptoms of tongue cancer from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center:
"Tongue cancer begins as a small lump or thick white patch. Over time this lump turns into an ulcer that has a firm, raised rim and a delicate center that bleeds easily. If the tumor is not treated, it can spread to the gums, lower jaw, lymph nodes, neck, and floor of the mouth, eroding healthy tissues in these areas..."
Here's that page:
Here is a page on oral cancer. It has a couple of images of lesions on the tongue at the bottom:
If you notice anything unusual in your mouth, don't hesitate to get it checked out. Had my friend's sister gone to the doctor earlier, she might have been fine with just surgery. It's a heartbreaking loss that possibly could have been prevented.