Woman’s tongue removed and rebuilt from leg – now it looks like drumstick lolly

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A woman who battled mouth cancer had part of her tongue removed and rebuilt from her leg.

Charlotte Webster began to suffer from recurring ulcers but put them down to feeling run down from long shifts as a flight attendant.

After several trips to the dentist and GP, she was referred to a specialist for a biopsy after her tongue developed sore, white patches.

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In May, tests revealed the 27-year-old had a tumour. A few weeks later, she underwent a nine-hour operation, which involved removing part of her tongue and replacing it with muscle from her leg.

The student midwife said: “My tongue is now a two-tone colour – it looks like a drumstick lolly.

“There is even a freckle on my tongue from my leg.

“You hear about breast and prostate cancer, but rarely mouth cancer. It’s usually older men or smokers who are diagnosed.

“The doctors had never treated someone as young as me.”

Charlotte, whose ulcers began in 2018, had no idea if she would be able to speak or eat normally again and spent the next two weeks with a tracheotomy – an opening in the neck with a tube inserted to help you breathe.

At the same time Charlotte revealed her diagnosis, mum Sam was in remission from cancer.

Charlotte said: “The hardest thing was telling my mum. She had been through so much, it broke my heart to tell her that her daughter had cancer too.”

Despite the gruelling surgery, Charlotte stunned doctors with her speedy recovery, and was overjoyed to discover the cancer had not spread.

Now she is hoping to help raise awareness for signs and symptoms of the disease.

Charlotte, of Petersfield, East Hants, added: “The hospital staff and surgeons were incredible – so supportive.

“I feel exceptionally lucky because it was caught in time.

“I’m a rare case because I’m so young. But it’s so important to look out for the symptoms at any age.”

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