DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Squamous cell carcinoma. Close-up of a squamous cell carcinoma (white area, centre) on the tongue of a 46 year old woman. Squamous cells are flat, scale-like cells in the skin. Tongue cancer is most common in heavy smokers and drinkers. Tongue cancers can spread quickly to the lower jaw, gums and the lymph nodes in the neck. If the cancer is not diagnosed before it spreads, the prognosis is very poor. If caught in the early stages, the cancerous area can be excised surgically, and radiotherapy or chemotherapy may also be necessary. After the removal of the cancer, regular follow-up examinations should be made to check for reoccurrence.
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