Introduction: Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity usually affects patients between the fifth and seventh decade of life but is increasingly seen in young patients under 40 years.
Material and methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 50 patients(<40years) who were diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and treated at our institution (Hospital Universitario Vall D’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain) between 1990 and 2013.
Results: Male patients were 34 (68%), and female patients 16 (32%). The mean of age was 34.58 years. The male:female ratio was 2.12:1. No smoking or alcohol risk factors were recorded in patients 19 patients (38%). The tongue was the most affected location (16; 52%). The tongue had the highest number of tumours in women (12; 75%). Stage III/IV was recorded in 35 patients (66%). Surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy was the more frequent treatment given (20; 40%). Recurrences were recorded in 21 patients(42%). The 5-year survival rate was 42%.
Conclusion: In our study patients younger than 40 years presented with advanced tumour stages. There was a marked predilection for tongue involvement in women. Although the majority of the patients recived combined treatment, the prognosis was poor.