A woman in England underwent a life-saving surgery to take put part of her tongue after being told for more than a year that her mouth ulcers were caused by a growing wisdom teeth and a hectic lifestyle, according to a report in Independent. Twenty-seven-year-old Charlotte Wester-Salter, a flight attendant, began suffering from recurring ulcers in 2018. But she thought it’s a result of her long shifts working as a flight attendant. She was feeling “run down” but kept ignoring the problem, the outlet further said.
The ulcers kept appearing and disappearing and every time she made a trip to the dentist and general practitioner in 2020, Ms Wester-Salter was told they were being caused by her wisdom teeth, said the Independent report.
But after her tongue developed sore, white patches, she was finally referred to a specialist in February 2021.
“The ulcers always appeared in one area – which I thought was odd. I kept dismissing it, in my mind I thought it was just stress or feeling run down. I even thought it was from being hungover or eating spicy food was aggravating it. I had my teeth straightened and had fillings, but nothing helped,” she was quoted as saying by Independent.
The specialists at St Richards Hospital in Chichester performed a biopsy by taking a sample of tissue from her tongue for testing. They discovered a tumour called a squamous cell carcinoma growing in her tongue and classified it as a type of head and neck cancer.
Ms Wester-Salter was devastated by the diagnosis. Her mother Sam had endured breast cancer after being diagnosed at the age of 49, report Metro.
“I just laughed when they told me – I was so shocked I didn’t know how to react. Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind,” she was quoted as saying by the outlet.
She underwent a nine-and-a-half-hour operation to cut away the affected part of her tongue and replace it with muscle from her thigh.
It took 10 days for Ms Wester-Salter to say first words after the surgery. Thankfully, further diagnosis revealed that the cancer hadn’t spread and there is no need for further surgery.
The 27-year-old is now undergoing speech and physiotherapy to learn how to talk, eat and walk again with her new tongue and altered leg.