Recently doctors have seen an increase in oral cancer in young people.
Most oral cancers previously diagnosed were smoking or alcohol related. Unfortunately, right now there has been an increase in a number of people who have not been exposed to cigarette and alcohol that have these cancers.
A 15-year old made headlines last year when he bowled a perfect 300 in a bowling tournament. Unfortunately, not long after, he discovered an ulcer in his mouth. Neither he nor his parents thought it was a big deal and he simply gargled with some salt water in an attempt to get rid of it.
They became concerned however when the sore didn’t go away and instead spread. Dupuy was taken to a specialist where the sore and 30% of his tongue was removed, Three days later test results came back confirming that the sore was indeed cancer.
Dupuy was diagnosed with a rapid form of squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. His parents were in shock as the doctors described this kind of cancer as an “aggressive adult cancer” which is not usually diagnosed in young children.
Doctors believe that this rise can be attributed to the human papaloma virus, or HPV. HPV is an orally transmitted virus and therefore fairly easy to get. It can be transmitted through oral sexual contact or something as innocent as an open-mouth kiss.
Specialists advise parents and patients alike that early detection is paramount.
Symptoms such as a sore in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or a neck mass that persists after two or three weeks are early signs. If any of these arise, it is a good idea to go see a local doctor.
Doctors also recommend that parents consider getting their teens the HPV vaccination, which comes in three shots. This vaccination can help prevent oral cancer.