Once tongue cancer is found, staging tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, as well as the size and location of the tumor.
This is surgical removal of the cancerous tumor and nearby tissue, and possibly nearby lymph nodes. This is often the preferred treatment when the tumor is on the visible side of the tongue, when it is quite small (less than 2 cm), and when it is lateralized to one side and does not involve the base of the tongue.
Radiation Therapy (or Radiotherapy)
This is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This method is used when the cancer is at the back of the tongue.
Chemotherapy is sometimes used with radiation to destroy the cancerous growth, especially if surgery is not planned.
Rehabilitation and Follow-Up
After treatment, your doctor may recommend:
- Therapy to improve tongue movement, chewing, and swallowing
- Speech therapy, if use of the tongue is affected
- Close monitoring of your mouth, throat, esophagus, and lungs to see if the cancer has come back or spread