Tongue cancer is not the most common of all, however, it is often manifested in active smokers and drinkers who over the years have been increasing the statistics. More common in men than in women, the disease has a good prognosis for recovery if detected in time. Therefore, it is important to know what are the early signs and symptoms of tongue cancer, especially if you are in the risk group.
How to know if you have tongue cancer
1. The appearance of sores on the tongue
One of the first signs of cancer of the tongue is having small ulcers that seem to never want to go away, besides that these eruptions will be painful and not a simple type of pain, but one that will be difficult to ignore, as it will be uncomfortable even for those who are tolerant of pain. Beware of this warning sign as it can easily be confused with sores or oral herpes, which unlike the sores that appear when you have tongue cancer, last less time and are not so painful.
2. The appearance of white or red spots on the tongue
If you have a spot on the tongue for some time and it is red (erythroplakia) or white (leukoplakia), it is best to check with your doctor as it may be one of the first manifestations of this type of cancer. If leukoplakia or erythroplakia is more than 2 weeks, it is very likely that your doctor will decide to have a biopsy. Red spots or erythroplakia are less common than white spots but have a higher potential to become cancerous.
This symptom although usually always appears but very few people identify it since the spots can appear in any area of the tongue, even in those areas to the sides, bottom or to the very bottom that you cannot see on your own and with ease. For that reason, it is recommended to go to the dentist at least once every 6 months
However, usually the spots that appear have a raspy texture, so you are likely to feel it when brushing your cheeks.
3. Pain in the tongue
Tongue cancer causes discomfort in the mouth and throat even for simple activities like drinking water or chewing food, so this will be another important indicator to take into account to know if you could or would not be suffering from this type of cancer in particular, although it is important to take into account that discomfort when swallowing and pains in the mouth can be due to various reasons, from throat infections, allergies, and even poor oral hygiene.
So you should not panic if you feel this type of symptom in particular. First, try to find out the cause of pain and discomfort. If you cannot, it is likely to be tongue cancer and therefore the best thing to do is to go to a specialist that can carry out the relevant exams to leave the doubt.
4. It is possible to suffer from bad smell in the mouth
After the above symptoms, it will not be strange to point out that you are likely to experience bad odors inside the mouth. These bad odors usually decrease a little after brushing, however, whether you have or have not eaten the bad smell will come back and it is possible also along with a taste of blood in the mouth.
5. Appearance of blood on the tongue
There are people who experience bleeding in the tongue, but usually this sign is confused with bleeding gums or bleeding from mouth ulcers, however, it is important that if you are experiencing blood in your mouth, if you feel a taste of blood in your mouth, after eating a few minutes, you may be able to determine where that blood is coming from.
You can pass a clean cotton ball on your tongue to know if it is from there blood is coming out. For this, it important that you rinse your mouth very well with water to clean the accumulated blood before passing the cotton and not confuse the source.
6. Pain in one or both ears
This may be one of the less experienced signs, but it is manifested in several patients who have tongue cancer, so it is important that you take into account every small detail.
It is important to warn that if you suffer from any of these symptoms, you must not try to remove or squeeze ulcers or sores on your tongue in order to make them smaller, as many people do. It is best to consult your doctor as soon as possible, discuss your concerns and he/she can perform the necessary tests to identify what is causing these manifestations similar to those that arise from a carcinoma of the tongue.
Remember this disease can be controlled and it is important that you submit to a treatment as soon as possible so that it does not expand in the whole internal area of the mouth, cheeks, throat and neck.