Woman ignores tongue ulcer, later turned into cancer

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Representative Image

Rohit Shishodia

Ignoring mouth pain triggered by a tongue ulcer proved fatal for a 24-year-old woman in Thane as the ulcer later turned into tongue cancer.

Fortunately, the woman, who is also a singer, was treated successfully by a team of doctors at Mumbai’s Wockhardt Hospital. She is now living a normal and healthy life.

The patient who was unable to talk, eat or swallow due to a 4.5-centimeter ulcer located on the right lateral border of the tongue can even sing her favourite song with ease now.

Patients may lose their entire tongue if the cancer is not tackled at the right time with appropriate treatment.

After recovering from cancer, the woman has pledged to quit alcohol and smoking.   

Dr. ChandraVeer Singh, a consultant head and neck oncologist, Wockhardt Hospital Mira Road, said, “On arrival, the patient came with complaints like mouth pain, inability to eat, talk or swallow, and a 4.5 cm ulcer located on the right lateral border of the tongue.

Her biopsy of ulcer, MRI, X-ray, and CT scan investigations revealed cancerous growth was on the tongue which extended to the lymph nodes of the right side of the neck.

“The ulcer infiltrative lesion arising from ventral surface of the tongue to the entire floor of the mouth, involving almost the entire anterolateral two-thirds tongue and not abutting the mandible in the entire length,” Dr. Singh said.

“There is a surge in the number of tongue cancer patients. Around 5-6 complex cases of tongue cancer have been treated at Wockhardt Hospital,” Dr. Singh highlighted.

He added that to halt the spread of cancer, the patient was scheduled to undergo Hemiglossectomy with FRAFF, followed by 35 cycles of radiotherapy and 6 cycles of chemotherapy.

He pointed out that the surgery involved the removal of half of the right side of the tongue and adjacent tissues and reconstructive surgery is carried out to restore speech, swallowing, and normal appearance.

“A skin grafting is done to replace the tissue removed during surgery. The Hemiglossectomy with frat and reconstruction procedure where the whole surgical procedure completed in 5 hours. She was discharged after 6 days and she could eat, speak and swallow properly. She was found to be alright on follow-ups,” Dr. Singh explained.

Tobacco chewing, smoking, or consumption of alcohol in any form should be avoided to prevent this cancer. Oral hygiene should be followed, and sharp teeth that can cause ulcers need to be addressed by the dentist.


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