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What is the Treatment for Tongue Cancer?

Discover the intricacies of tongue cancer treatment, ranging from surgeries like glossectomy to cutting-edge therapies such as immunotherapy and participation in clinical trials for optimal outcomes.

  • 30 Jan 2024
  • 3 min read

Tongue cancer is a form of oral cancer that necessitates a multi-faceted treatment approach due to its varied manifestations. The tongue cancer treatment plan is intricately tailored to factors like cancer size, location, and the patient's overall health. Techniques such as transoral surgery, neck dissection, and reconstructive surgery highlight the sophistication of contemporary interventions. The integration of immunotherapy and participation in clinical trials demonstrates the dynamic nature of ongoing advancements. This blog will delve into the diverse treatments available for tongue cancer.

Treatment of Tongue Cancer

Many healthcare providers perform various surgeries for tongue cancer treatment, including:

  • Glossectomy

The most common surgical procedure involves removing some or all of the tongue, known as a glossectomy. The extent depends on the size of the cancer, and a margin of healthy tissue is removed to eliminate all cancer cells.

  • Transoral Surgery

In cases where cancer is in the throat, tools are inserted through the mouth, and transoral robotic surgery may be utilised for hard-to-reach areas.

  • Neck Dissection

If cancer has spread to lymph nodes, a neck dissection involves surgically removing nodes for testing, helping determine the need for additional treatments.

  • Post-Surgery

Reconstruction may be necessary when facial, jaw, or neck parts are removed during surgery. Healthy tissue from other body areas replaces gaps left by cancer, aiding in functional restoration.


Your healthcare provider may also provide these tongue cancer treatment  options, including:

  • Radiation Therapy

Powerful energy beams, often X-rays or protons, target and kill cancer cells. Used as the primary treatment for tongue cancer or post-surgery to eliminate remaining cells. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be administered concurrently, especially when treating areas like lymph nodes affected by cancer spread.

  • Chemotherapy

Administered before surgery to control cell growth or after surgery to eradicate residual cells. Often used simultaneously with radiation therapy to enhance efficacy.

  • Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy employs drugs that attack specific chemicals in cancer cells, inducing cell death. It is effective in treating recurrent or metastatic tongue cancer.

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy enhances the body's immune system to identify and eliminate cancer cells. Employed in advanced cases where conventional treatments prove less effective.

  • Clinical Trials

Clinical trials offer participants access to novel treatments, presenting opportunities to explore innovative therapies and contribute to medical advancements.

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A comprehensive and personalised approach is imperative in navigating the complexities of tongue cancer treatment. From surgical interventions addressing the primary tumour and affected lymph nodes to advanced therapies like immunotherapy and participation in clinical trials, the landscape of treatment options underscores the importance of adapting to ongoing advancements. Health insurance plays a crucial role in facilitating access to these diverse treatments, ensuring comprehensive care and optimal outcomes for individuals facing tongue cancer.

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