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10 March 2011
Oral cancer increase in young women mystifies medicos

The Journal of Clinical Oncology reports an increasing incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue in young white females over the last three decades.

University of North Carolina researchers say that between 1975 and 2007, the overall incidence for all ages, genders, and races of the disease was decreasing. However, the incidence of oral tongue squamous cell carcinoma rose 28 percent among individuals aged 18 to 44. The increasing incidence was most dramatic for white females aged 18 to 44. They had a percentage change of 111 percent.

Over the past decade an association between the human papilloma virus (HPV) with squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil and tongue has been observed. But the researchers have preliminarily tested the cancers of the oral tongue of their young white female patients and have not found them to be associated with the virus.

"Our findings suggest that the epidemiology of this cancer in young white females may be unique and that the causative factors may be things other than tobacco and alcohol abuse. Based on our observations it [also] appears that these cases may not be associated with the human papilloma virus. We are actively researching other causes of this cancer in this patient population," said Bhisham Chera, leader of the study.

Related:
HPV More Widespread Than Previously Thought
Oral Sex Linked To Throat Cancer
Human Papillomavirus Widespread In Adolescents

Source: University of North Carolina School of Medicine


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