February 9, 2011 — Tongue cancer patients who have compartmental tongue surgery live longer and have fewer recurrences of the disease compared with those who undergo conventional surgery, a new retrospective study found (Oral Oncology, January 22, 2011). Cancer of the tongue is aggressive, as evidenced by its locally invasive behavior and a propensity to metastasize to cervical lymph nodes. Surgery remains the main approach to treating early-stage tongue cancer; the goal is to remove the primary tumor and as much surrounding tissue as necessary to ensure that all macroscopic disease is eradicated. This is thought to provide the best chance that microscopic disease — the potential source of recurrence — is also removed.
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