Are You At Risk Of Tongue Cancer?
Carl had been a long-time smoker of cigars. His habit found him once daily smoking a cigar after dinner. With all the fuss about cigarettes causing cancer, he and many of his friends felt that cigars were safer because they never inhaled the cigar smoke. But what Carl didn’t realize was that even cigars hold a risk for certain cancers. True, he wasn’t inhaling the smoke, which minimized his risk for lung cancer, but the smoke spent moments in his mouth before he blew it out. Those few moments of each puff made the difference.
Carl began noticing a small firm spot on his tongue that was red and outlined in white. The spot had raised edges and hurt at any touch. He couldn’t eat or drink anything without the spot hurting intensely. Carl made an appointment with his doctor to figure out what was going on.
Like Carl, many people believe that switching from cigarettes to cigars will decrease their chances of cancer. But as some experience, that is simply not true. Cigar smoke produces the same toxic and harmful toxins as cigarette smoke. Many experts believe that cigar smoke is more harmful than cigarette smoke because it has higher levels of cancer-causing substances, such as nitrosamines.
This is why Carl was at a greater risk for cancers like tongue or oral cancer when he started smoking cigars. Cigars are not the only cause of these types of cancers, but it has been proven that those that smoke cigars, cigarettes, use other tobacco products like chew or are involved in heavy alcohol consumption are more likely to get these cancers.
Tongue cancer is very serious and painful. It is a malignant tumor that forms on the tongue. Some other tongue cancer symptoms include:
- A white edged red spot or patch on the tongue that is firm and raised.
- The patch grows larger over time
- The patch is very tender and will bleed easily, especially when chewing, swallowing or drinking
- Numbness of the mouth or tongue
- Change in speech due to the tongue not being able to move around teeth
Don’t be like Carl and believe that just because you’re not inhaling the cigar smoke will keep you cancer free. It may not be a fatal cancer, but you could walk away with parts of your tongue missing or no tongue at all.