What Causes Tongue Cancer?

The common causes of tongue cancer are smoking and drinking alcohol.
A tongue.
Chewing tobacco, which can cause tongue cancer.
Article Details
  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2014
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Tongue cancer is a type of cancer that is caused when the cells within the mouth divide in such a way as to be considered out of control. It is caused when the squamous cells form tumors, which can cause them to either become cancerous or stay benign. The exact cause of tongue cancer can be attributed to many different things, but an undeniable fact is that there is no one common cause of tongue cancer. Genes passed down through the generations has a small part in the formation of these tumors, but outside factors such as smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking have also been shown to be common factors that relate to tongue cancer.

There are basically two types of tongue cancer, which are oral and base tongue cancer. The squamous cell carcinoma oral cancer is the form of cancer that happens at the lateral part of the tongue, with possibly a grayish to reddish pink color. This type of cancer is more likely to happen in older people, but it has also been found in teenagers as well. Its common causes are smoking and drinking alcohol, and this type of cancer can cause some serious swallowing and speech problems. The basic methods of treating oral cancer are radiation therapy, surgery, or just the removal of the primary part of cancerous tissue.


The other type is known as base tongue cancer, which is more serious than the oral type. Its common symptoms include severe pain in the tongue, feeling of fullness, and difficulty in swallowing. Due to the usual late diagnosis of this disease, there could be the possibility of metastasis, which is a serious neck disease. The treatment of this type of cancer could be radiation therapy or the surgery. The common causes of these tumors also include the use of tobacco and alcohol products.

Even though a common linking factor that has been attributed to tongue cancer is smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, and numerous other causes can be found. For instance, heredity and a history of mouth disease can increase the changes of this medical condition. Men, especially over the age of 40, as also more prone to being diagnosed with tongue cancer. All in all, there is no common cause for tongue cancer, and even though there are many factors that can be associated with it, living a healthy lifestyle and eating a proper diet can greatly reduce the instances of this, or any other, type of cancer.


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