Tongue Cancer Treatment
Tongue cancer treatment is approached on a case-by-case basis, often using a multifaceted plan that combines two or more options. The goals of treatment can vary; removing the cancerous cells, treating the symptoms of the cancer, and intervening to preserve the normal capabilities of the tongue and other structures of the mouth are all priorities when developing a treatment plan.
The main approaches to tongue cancer treatment include the following methods:
Surgery – In cases of smaller tumors, surgeons can remove small portions of the tongue without affecting much of its function. For larger tumors or those that are located on the bottom of the tongue or in the throat, neck surgery may be the most appropriate option.
Radiation therapy – Doses of radiation can be carefully delivered to the tumor to kill its cells. Typically, the beams of radiation are also directed at the cells immediately surrounding the tumor in order to ensure all cancerous cells are killed. This therapy can also be used in conjunction with surgery, often to deliver doses of radiation to kill cells that may remain in the mouth after the tumor is removed.
Chemotherapy – Powerful medications that kill rapidly multiplying cells (including cancerous cells, as well as healthy, fast-growing cells like those found in hair) can be administered intravenously or orally. This approach can be used with surgery, to prevent the return of cancer, or even as palliative treatment.
At Tampa General Hospital, our ENT oncology specialists offer all of these medical options and more as part of our comprehensive approach to tongue cancer treatment. Our specialists – including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, and support staff – address every patient’s medical needs on an individual basis, developing a specific plan to address their cancer. We also have state-of-the-art technologies at our disposal, such as robotic surgery designed to help surgeons remove cancers of the head and neck with an increased level of precision.