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.
She described her new tongue as looking like a "drumstick lolly", according to Metro.