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Carcinoma of tongue

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team


  • decreasing, mainly because of improved dental hygiene


  • most commonly, lateral border

Clinical features:

  • usually presents as a persistent ulcer
  • advanced cases may cause tongue fixation and invade the mandible such that the patient experiences dysphagia
  • one third of cases present with a lump in the neck, which on account of the lymphatic drainage in this area, may be on the contralateral side


  • biopsy


  • small lesions - radiotherapy or surgery
  • large lesions - partial glossectomy
  • palpable neck lesions require a neck dissection but if bilateral nodes are present, neck dissection is unlikely to be justified as the prognosis is so poor

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