Tongue Problems (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for tongue problems?

Fortunately, most tongue problems are benign and treatable; therefore, the prognosis is generally very good.

In regards to tumorous growth, the main concern would be oral cancer. The prognosis for oral cancer is dependent upon the stage of the cancer, the location of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread to blood vessels. Individuals with head and neck cancer such as oral cancer have an increased risk of developing a second cancer in the head and neck. Frequent follow-up and close monitoring are crucial parts of care. The prognosis for oral cancer is poor. In the U.S., approximately half of individuals newly diagnosed with oral cancer do not survive after 5 years. Despite advances in treatment with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the poor prognosis is due to the cancer being discovered at a later stage in its development.

Can tongue problems be prevented?

Some tongue problems are preventable by practicing good oral hygiene and eating a healthy, nutritious diet. Other tongue problems are the byproduct of an underlying medical condition which needs to be addressed. Once addressed, the tongue problem should resolve as well.

For oral cancer, quitting the habit of smoking and alcohol use will decrease the risk. A vaccine for HPV is being studied and it may help in guarding against oral cancers as well. Oral cancer screenings should take place during routine dental visits. Screenings can also take place with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2013

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Tongue Problems - Describe Your Problems Question: Please describe your tongue problems.
Tongue Problems - Treatments Question: What treatment did you receive for your tongue problem?
Tongue Problems - Infants and Children Question: What kind of tongue problem does your infant or young child suffer from?
Tongue Problems - Hairy Tongue Question: Were you diagnosed with hairy tongue? What was the cause?
Tongue Problems - Oral Cancer Question: Have you been diagnosed with oral cancer on your tongue? How are you coping?
Tongue Problems - Leukoplakia Question: Do you have leukoplakia? How did you get rid of it?