This year, more than 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal or oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. Oral cancer claims around 10,000 adults in this country each year, which amounts to around one person each hour. The relatively high mortality rate, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, is due to the often late diagnosis of this form of cancer. |
Research and numerous studies have found that risk factors for oral cancer include:
Age (Most cases occur in individuals over the age of 40) Tobacco use Marijuana use Gender (Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer) Poor nutrition Weakened immune system Poor oral hygiene habits Heavy consumption of alcohol
Three Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Oral Cancer
By far, the most serious risk factor for oral cancer is tobacco use. Tobacco products include cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, snuff, vape pens, and cigars. According to Cancer.net, 85 percent of neck and head cancers are linked to tobacco use. Tobacco products contain carcinogens that disrupt the DNA replication process, leading to coding errors that can develop into cancer. There is no safe way to consume tobacco products. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase an individual's cancer risk.
If you are trying to quit smoking, there are numerous online sources that offer tips and advice. Smokefree.gov offers these tips:
Create a Quite Plan: Having a personalized plan can improve your chances of seeing your efforts through.
Calculate Your Savings: There are many financial benefits to quitting smoking. Calculating those numbers can drive the savings home.
List Your Reasons for Quitting: Having the right motivations to cease smoking can be a key motivator to follow through with your efforts.
Know Your Triggers: Triggers can be emotional, social, work-related, or tied to something else.
Fight Your Cravings: Meditation, exercise, or healthy distractions can lower your risk of relapsing.
The American Cancer Society offers a toll-free hotline: 1-800-227-2345.
"Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives," according to the US Surgeon General.
Cut Back on Drinking
Alcohol consumption increases one's risk of developing head and neck cancers, according to Cancer.net. Using tobacco and alcohol together magnifies those risks. Heavy male drinkers have four or more drinks per day. Heavy female drinkers consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day. Rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov offers information on the dangers of heavy drinking. The website offers these tips for reducing alcohol consumption.
Keep track of how many drinks you consume in a day or week Measure the size of your drink pours carefully Find alternatives to drinking, like exercising or new hobbies Set a limit for how many drinks you have per day Have a plan for when you have the urge to drink Learn to say no instead of making up excuses when offered a drink
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Poor oral hygiene is a known risk factor for oral cancer. In general, adults are advised to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. Flossing and mouthwash are also an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Finally, visit your dentist twice a year for dental cleanings and exams.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
If you live in or around Colleyville, TX, Our dentist can screen and treat oral cancer. Our office can be reached at (817) 552-3223 or visit our website to learn more about the procedures Dr. Tye offers.
Dr. Chris Tye TXOSS Colleyville, Texas oral surgeon 817-552-3223
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