In honor of April being Oral Cancer Awareness month we would like to take a minute to share some information with you.
Oral cancer refers to any cancer occurring on the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.
Are you at risk?
Two risk factors that are major contributors to oral cancer are alcohol consumption and tobacco use; this includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and smoke-free chewing tobacco. Alcohol increases the absorption of these toxic chemicals which makes your risk multiply greatly if you smoke and drink alcohol. There are several other factors such as sun exposure, family history, and diets low in fruits and vegetables that also contribute to the onset of oral cancer. Although all of these things are true, reports from the American Dental Association show that ¼ of those with oral cancer had no known risk factors prior to getting the disease.
Who does oral cancer affect?
This disease is twice as common in men as it is in woman. African American men are at the highest risk of developing the disease. Traditionally oral cancer has been linked to those over 40. The biggest increase in oral cancer has been due to HPV infections, especially among men.
Protecting you against oral cancer:
Use a mirror to check your mouth for any unusual painful sores or lumps that won’t heal. Early detection is essential for the best outcome, so it’s very important you do at home self checks. Report any findings to your dentist. Other symptoms may be difficulty eating or swallowing. Dr.Roberts includes a screening for oral cancer at your yearly dental exams, it is important to visit your dentist regularly.
Lower your risk of oral cancer by cutting back on alcohol consumption. Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non smokers, those who quit smoking cut that risk in half in just five years. Consuming a healthy diet and wearing a lip balm with sunscreen can also reduce your risk for oral cancer.
Oral cancer is treated the same way many other cancers are treated: with surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Early diagnosis provides the best outlook for oral cancer patients!