ZocdocAnswersCould I have tongue cancer?

Question

Could I have tongue cancer?

Since the past few days, I've been experiencing heaviness in my tongue, and a slight difficulty in pronouncing words. (For ex.: I'd pronounce THAYble for Table.) And my friends keep telling me that I have a really thick voice, which is really embarrassing. No one In my family has a really deep voice as much as mine.... Kindly Help!

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have been suffering from dysarthria (abnormal speech) for the past few days, and that you think that you could have a tongue cancer. I can give you some general information about tongue cancers, and give you some other causes of dysarthria, but ultimately I am going to recommend that you make an appointment to be seen by a physician. You may want to start with a visit to your general practitioner and they will refer you on to a specialist if needed. Sometimes inflammation of the tongue (from something such as angioedema of the tongue) can cause difficulty with speech. Tongue cancers can cause dysarthria as well, but typically are associated with pain and difficulty swallowing. Nonetheless it is important to get evaluated so that if there is a tongue cancer present it can be diagnosed and managed early. There are also neurogenic causes for dysarthria that can be central or peripheral. Central neurogenic causes would be something like a stroke, whereas a peripheral cause could involve nerve damage. If the quality of your voice has changed, then it makes me think that there may be some change in your larynx (voice box) as well, which could mean that an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician would need to evaluate you.

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