Squamous Cell Cancer
Timely detection saves livelihood of a teacher
A 58 year old lady was diagnosed with an ulcer over the left lateral
border of the tongue that hadn’t healed even after being treated by her
family physician for 3 months . On examination, a 3 x 2 cm ulcer was seen
against her sharp left lower canine. A biopsy from the ulcer confi rmed
the diagnosis of Squamous Cell Cancer. Additional investigations with
MRI of the head and neck were conducted to confi rm the extent of the
disease. The patient was informed of the need for Hemiglossectomy
(removal of left half of the tongue) and dissection of the lymph nodes
in the neck.
The patient underwent left Hemiglossectomy with left modifi ed radical
neck (spinal accessory nerve and internal jugular vein preserving)
dissection. The defect was reconstructed by microvascular free tissue
transfer from the left forearm (free radial artery forearm fl ap).
The patient was discharged on the fi fth day post operation and was
advised a normal liquid and soft diet. At the follow-up two weeks later,
the patient was extremely satisfi ed with the cosmetic and functional
outcome (speech and swallowing) after the removal of half of her
tongue. She has now resumed her profession as a school teacher.
The advent of modern reconstruction work like the one illustrated
above have made a quantum leap towards cosmetic and functional
rehabilitation in patients with Oral Cancer and these patients can now
confi dently resume their daily routine after major cancer operations of
the head, face and neck region.