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UNC study finds oral tongue cancer increasing in young, white females
Date:3/8/2011

ell carcinoma of the tonsil and tongue has been observed. Patients with human papilloma virus associated oral squamous cell carcinoma are typically male, white, non-smokers, non-drinkers, younger in age and have higher socioeconomic status. The researchers at UNC 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. Other institutions have also noted the absence of the virus in young females with oral tongue cancer. The UNC researchers have also anecdotally observed that these young white female patients are typically non-smokers and non-drinkers.

"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 and the published data, it 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." he added.

Though the increasing rate of oral tongue cancer in young white females is alarming oral tongue cancer is a rare cancer, relative to breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer. "Primary care physicians and dentist should be aware of this increasing incidence and screen patients appropriately," states Dr. Chera. Oral tongue cancer is typically treated with surgery first followed by radiation and, in some cases, chemotherapy.


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Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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