Volume 8 • 2021 • Issue 5

Oral Cancer AmongYoung Adults Oral cancer has traditionally been linked with risk factors such as heavy alcohol or tobacco consumption, HPV, family history of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or poor oral health and diet. Trends show that the risk of developing oral cancer increases with age (greatest risk after 45 years old) and that men are more likely to develop it than women. However, clinicians have noticed an unusual pattern emerging in the presentation of oral cancers among young adults with no predisposing conditions for the disease. This trend is in contrast with the typical patterns observed in the general population. Dr. Firoozeh Samim, an oral medicine and oral and maxillofacial pathologist from Montreal, discusses what signs and symptoms dentists should look for, and highlights the importance of an early diagnosis. S CC of the tongue appears to be progressively increasing among young adults—in both men and women. In a recent interview on CDA Oasis, Dr. Samim explains how dentists should remain vigilant if they see a patient in their 30s showing an ulcer-type lesion with pain on the lateral border of their tongue. “In about 95% of the cases that I have seen, the lesion is located on the lateral border of the tongue, along the occlusal plane, so we’re led to believe that it is due to biting habits. It sometimes looks like erosive type lichenoid reaction,” warns Dr. Samim. Dr. Parul Dua Makkar, a general dentist from Jericho, New York, also advocates for early diagnosis and prevention of oral cancer by sharing the story of her younger brother, Dr. Manu Dua, a dentist practising in Calgary, Alberta, who passed away from oral cancer at age 34. In July 2019, Dr. Manu Dua was diagnosed with stage 2 SCC, after which he quickly received treatment and had surgery. The cancer reappeared in April 2020, which was followed by another surgery and chemotherapy. In November of that year, the cancer became metastatic and spread to other parts of his body and he passed away in March 2021. In an article published in Dentaltown magazine, Dr. Manu Dua describes his first symptoms and diagnosis experience. It started with an unusual feeling one morning, as if he had bit his tongue overnight.A fewweeks later, an ulcerous lesion appeared on his tongue. The sore was increasingly painful and eating became more challenging. It started with an unusual feeling one morning, as if he had bit his tongue overnight. A few weeks later, an ulcerous lesion appeared on his tongue. 40 | 2021 | Issue 5