Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the oral tongue in patients less than 40 years old is a rare but aggressive disease. Published reports suggest poor overall treatment results for young patients despite relatively early stage disease presentation. A 25‐year review of the English language literature (1968 to 1993) identifies 14 reports with 3 or more patients younger than 40 years of age with SCC of the oral tongue. Of 152 cases identified, 57% of patients developed locoregional failure and 47% of patients died secondary to their cancer. At the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, 6 patients under the age of 40 years have received treatment between 1971 and 1991 for SCC of the oral tongue. Despite presentation with relatively early stage disease, 5 of 6 patients have developed locoregional failure and 4 patients have died from their cancer. These results for the younger population reflect a higher locoregional failure and mortality rate than representative reports from the older population. An aggressive therapeutic approach to the young patient with SCC of the oral tongue appears warranted in an attempt to improve locoregional control and ultimate survival. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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