Bengaluru: Teacher regains normal functions after oral cancer surgery

Bengaluru: Teacher regains normal functions after oral cancer surgery

BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital has successfully treated a 52-year-old schoolteacher with advanced oral cancer.

Bengaluru: BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital has successfully treated a 52-year-old schoolteacher with advanced oral cancer. In September last year, Nitin (name changed) had a large ulcer on the border of his tongue. After a few rounds of tests, the doctors detected squamous cell carcinoma covering a major portion of his tongue. Before the tumour could spread, an expert team of doctors including the surgical oncologist and the plastic surgeon decided to perform a glossectomy.

After taking consent from the patient's family, the team removed 60% of his tongue and performed reconstructive surgery as a curative treatment, helping him get back his ability to swallow and speak like a normal person.

India has the highest number of oral cancer cases in Asia. The oral cancer rates are increasing rapidly with nearly half a million new cases being diagnosed each year. It is mainly caused by chewing tobacco and smoking. This can be treated by removing the tumor surgically for curative treatment with a good functional outcome.

The teacher was a regular consumer of tobacco for 5 years. After going through distress in his mouth for a prolonged period of time with difficulty in speech and swallowing, he approached Dr Karthik Prasad. The doctor performed a few rounds of tests including CT scans and biopsy and found squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue.

The treatment method was planned by the oncologist according to the tumour size and extent of the disease. Since it was a planned surgery, the team accessed the severity and without a further delay, performed glossectomy, removing 60% of the patient's tongue.

With the help of the plastic surgeon, using a free flap (tissue taken from a body part) a reconstruction surgery of his tongue was performed on 25 September, 2021.

Dr Karthik K Prasad, Surgical Oncologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital said, the patient had an advanced tumour on his tongue, and it had to be removed without further delay. "Being a schoolteacher losing his ability to speak would have been a major disability in his life. Hence, our robust medical professionals reconstructed a tongue with a free flap, which helped him regain his ability to swallow, speak and get back to his teaching job." The surgery took about 10-12 hours as the cancer affected more than half of his tongue. The surgery was performed by the team of experts including Dr Karthik K Prasad and Dr Nataraj Naidu, Surgical Oncologists, Dr Naveen Kumar, plastic surgeon along with the anaesthesia and ICU team supported by dedicated nursing staff. After the surgery, the teacher underwent radiation therapy which was done by Dr Mathangi J, Senior Consultant and Radiation Oncologist, department in-charge, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.

Dr Natraj Naidu explained that it's essential to diagnose oral cancer at the earlier stage before it is too late. Some of the prominent symptoms including a lump in the cheek, white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth and a sore or lesion in the mouth. Sandeep Kumar, CEO, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital said after the diagnosis it's vital to understand the stage of the cancer which can be detected through tumour size and how far it has spread in the mouth.

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