April is Oral Cancer Awareness month. We want to review some of the basics to help our readers understand their risks when it comes to oral cancer.
What is oral cancer?
Cancer that develops in tissues of the mouth (oral cavity) or the throat area which lies behind the mouth (oropharynx) is called oral cancer.
Risk factors leading to oral cancer:
- Use of tobacco: Tobacco, considered the greatest risk factor, is responsible for 22% of cancer deaths, globally, every year. About 90% of patients detected with oral cancer use tobacco either in smoking or chewing forms.
- Use of alcohol: About 80% of patients with oral cancer consume alcohol.
- Exposure to sun: Being exposed to UV rays of the sun causes lip cancer.
- HPV infection (Human Papillomavirus): HPV diagnosis can lead to oropharynx cancer.
- Previous history of head and neck cancer: Patients who have earlier suffered from head and neck cancer are at more risk of developing oral cancer.
Tips to prevent oral cancer:
- Item One
- Quit tobacco use
- Reduce the use of alcohol
- Limit exposure to the sun
- Maintain an active lifestyle by exercising regularly
- Visit your dentist regularly for oral cancer screenings
This April, let’s all pledge to fight oral cancer by reducing our risky behavior and visiting our dentists regularly.