Brachytherapy: An Effective Treatment for Tongue Cancer

January 28, 2017

Cancer of base of tongue (BOT), that is the posterior most part of the tongue before the throat, is very common in India. Unlike other cancers affecting the oral cavity, cancers developing in BOT region are very difficult to diagnose as the part is not visible to the human eye and needs special instruments for detection. Due to this reason most cancers of BOT are diagnosed late when the cancer has grown big and obstructs eating and swallowing. The discouraging aspect of cancers of BOT is that surgery is very difficult to perform. Under these conditions, the use of ionizing radiation is the most suitable treatment option as the treatment does not compromise on the patients oral functions and is devoid of side effects.

The radiation used in cancer treatment is known as ionizing radiation and treatment is delivered from an outside source for 6 to 7 consecutive weeks. However some cells survive the radiation-induced cell kill, regrow and appear within 1 to 3 years after the completion of the treatment. The tumor formed of these residual cancer cells are very difficult to control, aggressive, and spread to various organs, thereby leading to the death of the patient.

At Mangalore Institute of Oncology, a cancer specialty hospital we have developed a refined technique that takes care of the residual cancer cells. A form of treatment known as Brachytherapy has been the standard treatment in Europe and America especially for BOT. Brachytherapy is used to treat smaller areas and involves delivering higher doses of radiation to more-specific areas.

In this procedure a short life radioactive material is placed in the middle of the tumor and this eliminates all the residual cancer cells that have survived radiation. Additionally, the overall treatment time is very short (which in most cases is two days) and is less strenuous to both patients and their care givers. The use of Brachytherapy for BOT cancer has these benefits for the patients:

1. Avoidance of potential surgical disfigurement and preserving the structure and function of the vital organs important for eating, chewing, drinking and speaking.
2. Prevent/reduce radiation exposure to critical structures like brain, spinal cord and eyes.
3. Useful in controlling previously irradiated tumors that are re growing.

Brachytherapy requires very highly specialized and skilled doctors and not all centers in India have the expertise for it. Our experience has shown that brachytherapy following radiation causes complete cure in early stage cancers and the treated patients have good quality of life especially with respect to eating, swallowing and speaking. This treatment has changed the management of cancers and is highly beneficial for people with oral/tongue cancers.



By Dr Suresh Rao
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Leave a Comment

Title: Brachytherapy: An Effective Treatment for Tongue Cancer

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.