Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Oral cancer can occur mostly in men and women who:
- Chew and/or smoke tobacco or use alcohol.
- Are of age 40 and older, especially African-American men.
- Exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
- Intake diet is low in fruits and vegetables.
The following symptoms are early warning signs for oral cancer:
- A white or red lesion on gums, lips, tongue or mouth lining
- A lump or mass, which can be felt inside the mouth or neck
- Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Hoarseness lasting for a long time
- Numbness of the tongue or other areas of the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw, loosening of the teeth or pain in the mouth that doesn't go away
- Bleeding in the mouth
To help being treatment immediately, it is essential to detect oral cancer early because it is easily curable. The following steps have to be taken care of:
- Have regular dental checkups that include an examination of the entire mouth
- Ask your health care professional to examine your mouth and throat as part of your routine cancer checkup
- Conduct a monthly self-examination by looking in a mirror to check for symptoms
To prevent oral cancer:
- Avoid tobacco, excessive alcohol use and the combination of tobacco and alcohol
- Avoid being outdoors during mid-day, when the sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest
- Use lip balms containing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more to protect against sunlight
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods and less high fat and processed meats
- Have an annual oral cancer screening done by your dentist or health care professional
Treatment options available are:
- Surgery and Radiation Therapy- These are standard forms of treatment
- Chemotherapy - Used in addition to surgery and/or radiation for some patients with later stages of the disease