Tongue cancer (on the front of the tongue, the oral tongue) is one of the more common head and neck cancers we see in our group. HPV related throat cancer is MORE common, but we see many tongue cancers. Traditionally tongue cancer has been seen in people who smoke and drink but there is a subset of younger women who have never smoked who are turning up with tongue cancers. In the study featured below they are very young but some of the members of our group have developed tongue cancer in middle age after experiencing an annoying and persistent tongue ulcer for months. The treatment is pretty dire, but the outcome can be very good. It’s important to detect it before it spreads.
Our own Nicky Macdonald told her story to Stuff Nation to show how tricky tongue cancers can be to diagnose, how hard the treatment was and what a relief it is to get your life back.
A Sydney study of young women with tongue cancer found that a genetic mutation was probably responsible for a big rise in tongue cancer cases in non-smoking women under 44.
Eddie van Halen
The legendary guitarist Eddie van Halen died last week from what sounds like tongue cancer that spread to his throat over a period of nearly 20 years. The following stories cast an interesting light on our “lonely cancer” which is not well known by the public.