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October 12, 1984

Increase of Tongue Cancer in Young Men

Author Affiliations

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York

JAMA. 1984;252(14):1857. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350140017016

To the Editor.—  We have noted an unusual number of carcinomas of the oral tongue in young people at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center during the past several years. Tongue cancer is extremely rare in young age groups; its median age of onset is reported by the National Cancer Institute to be 62 years.1 We have not observed a similar temporal trend for any other sites in the head and neck.Table 1 presents the number of squamous cancers of the oral tongue in patients younger than 40 years who were first treated at Memorial Hospital from 1955 through 1982. The proportion of cases in persons younger than 40 years is increasing nonlinearly in calendar time for men. For women, the pattern is less clear, particularly as the frequencies are low. Memorial Hospital is a tertiary care center in New York City whose patient population also comes from localities