My husband of 23 years, aged 61 was recently diagnosed with early squamous cell carcinoma on the left side of the tongue. He hasn't drank in 25 years, hasn't smoked in 24 years, hasn't chewed in 23 years. No other sexual partners, many years since last oral sex. Has chronic periodontal disease. Has a partial that doesn't touch tongue. Gets cleanings and checks every 6 months. He will have a section of the tongue with 1/2 inch oncology margins removed soon. What could have caused this? (will also remove upper lymph nodes on that side - although CT was clean)
I am sorry to hear about your husband's diagnosis. The etiology of oral cancer is multifactorial. The majority of patients do have a history of tobacco use (smoking or chewing) and alcohol consumption, but in others it is very difficult to implicate a particular cause. Recently, it has been recognized that certain viruses, such as HPV, play a role. On the skin, sun damage is a common cause. I am glad that your husband has established contact with the oncology team and I wish you and your family the best during this time.