The likelihood of curing tongue cancer can depend on factors such as a person’s overall health and age, the size of the tumor, and whether the cancer has spread beyond the tongue.
Squamous cell cancers are the
The outlook for people with tongue cancer is generally positive, with an overall 5-year relative survival rate of
This article explores whether tongue cancer is curable, including survival rates, potential treatment options, and what to expect after treatment.
Tongue cancer treatment
Remission can be complete or partial. Partial remission is when cancer responds to treatment and shrinks.
Complete remission occurs when a person no longer has any traces of cancer. However, cancer can return even after a person achieves complete remission.
Detecting tongue cancer before it spreads to other body parts
- Before cancer spreads: 84%
- Cancer that spreads to lymph nodes: 70%
- Cancer that spreads to distant body parts: 41%
Survival rates use previous outcomes of people with cancer to estimate how many people with certain types and stages of cancer will be alive after a fixed period of time.
These survival rates may change depending on factors such as how well a person reacts to treatment and whether cancer grows or spreads.
However, the ACS points out that treatments and outcomes are constantly improving, so people may have a better outlook than these statistics suggest.
Treatment for tongue cancer can vary depending on the extent of the cancer. Doctors may suggest the following treatment options for people with tongue cancer.
After surgery, a doctor may perform reconstructive surgery to help restore the appearance and function of the affected areas.
People with advanced tongue cancer may receive a combination of surgery and another treatment option.
Doctors may use radiation therapy in tongue cancer treatment. The process uses high-energy X-rays or particles to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth.
Radiation can play an
Chemotherapy treatment involves injecting anticancer drugs into a person’s vein or administering them orally so they can enter the bloodstream to reach most parts of the body.
For advanced tongue cancer, chemotherapy
Targeted therapy uses medication to identify and attack proteins on cancer cells. This treatment option
Immunotherapy uses the body’s natural defenses to treat cancer by improving the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells.
People should also maintain a healthy lifestyle and monitor their health to promptly manage long-term side effects, new health concerns, or tongue cancer recurrence.
The oncology team can provide a survivorship care plan to help a person’s doctor understand their diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing needs.
Follow-up care appointments can continue for several years after successful treatment for tongue cancer. However, the longer a person remains free of cancer, the lower their risk of recurrence is.
Quality of life
People can speak with their doctor for further help if their tongue cancer treatment causes functional difficulties, particularly if this impacts daily life.
A person’s oncology team can provide support such as making referrals to dentists, occupational health, dietitians, and social care to help people navigate quality of life concerns.
Whether or not a person is experiencing ongoing tongue cancer treatment or is currently in remission, support groups
- survivor wellness programs
- local or online support groups
- long-term follow-up clinics
- pain clinics
- quitting smoking groups
Learn more about life after cancer.
When the disease is caught early, most people with tongue cancer have a
Tongue cancer remission occurs when there is no longer any trace of cancer in the body. The longer a person remains in remission, the less likely cancer will recur.
People should speak with their doctor about the best treatment options for them and the best post-treatment plan to boost their quality of life.