Oral cancer is a collective term that includes cancer in the mouth, gum, lips, lining of the cheek, the tongue and the palate. Tongue cancer is one of the most common types of oral cancer. The tongue gets infected with ulcers and the individual affected finds immense difficulty in swallowing and speaking. The carcinoma is found in the squamous cells that metastasize from the point of origin to other parts of the mouth only when it is malignant in nature. The cancer spreads through the lymphatic ducts or the bloodstream and it's more likely to affect the throat.
Cancer in the tongue is not always malignant in nature. If the lump or tumor formed is localized and doesn't invade other tissues, then it's a benign cancer that is not life-threatening. On exploring the causes of tongue cancer you will observe that it's our own bad eating habits and lifestyle responsible for giving rise to such a serious health complication.
Statistical studies have shown that smokers are six times more likely to get oral cancer than nonsmokers. It's a fact that individuals who smoke regularly are more vulnerable to tongue cancer. Smoking cigars, pipes and cigarettes at frequent intervals infects the cells of your tongue that causes cancer. The nicotine content of tobacco present in cigarettes is high and the smoke inhaled is harmful not only to different parts of the mouth but also to the lungs.
Nicotine, being carcinogenic, will cause cancer to the tongue when you are addicted to chewing tobacco. The lining of your mouth and gum get affected with tumors and lesions that gradually become malignant in nature. Using tobacco in smokeless forms, like snuffing and dipping might also cause cancer in the tongue. Tobacco users are also 6 times more prone to develop cancers than non-tobacco users.
A research study conducted has shown that 70-80% of people who are affected with oral cancers are heavy consumers of alcohol. Alcohol is capable of stimulating the cancer causing genes, that could possibly trigger malignancy. The cells present inside mouth gets affected with lumps and lesions. Patients are also diagnosed with white patches on the tongue, that could be symptoms of cancer.
Exposure to Radiation
Getting exposed to radiation of an intensity higher than the normal permissible level causes cancer in the mouth. People who are victims of nuclear catastrophes are at high risks of developing oral cancer. The symptoms of tongue cancer might go undetected initially, but with deterioration of health it becomes evident.
Exposure to UV Rays
Exposing yourself excessively to ultraviolet rays could also be the reason for developing cancer on frontal portion of the tongue. The lesions are painful that also affect the roof of the mouth and lips.
The causes of tongue cancer could also be hereditary. An individual carries the risk of developing oral cancer when his/her family members have been diagnosed with the same disease. Since it's a hereditary condition, there's no medical treatment for preventing it.
Poor Dental Hygiene
This could possibly be one of the causes of tongue cancer. People who develop mouth ulcers frequently and practice unhygienic habits might develop oral cancer. Thus, you should practice good habits to keep your tongue and mouth clean.
Infection with Human Papillomavirus can independently cause tongue cancer. The base of the tongue is infected in this case. The genetic material of the HPV virus replicates itself, spreading the cancer to other parts of the mouth (oropharynx) at a random pace.
Diet, to a large extent, plays an important role in suppressing the oncogenes. A diet that is devoid of essential nutrients might also cause cancer in the mouth. Consumption of spices, red chillies and sauces in large amounts might give rise to cancer. Chewing betel nut and betel leaves is a common practice among Asian people that causes cancer in the long run.
These were the most common tongue cancer causes that you should be aware of. Treatment of cancer depends on the severity of the symptoms and its stage. Early prognosis with proper medicines, chemotherapy, and radiation can increase the life expectancy of patients. Complete cure of tongue cancer is not yet known, however, good medical treatment is quite capable of alleviating the pain associated with it. The best way to prevent yourself falling prey to mouth cancer is to stay away from smoking and alcohol. Apart from this, a healthy diet and stress free lifestyle would also boost your immune system.