Anyone, especially people over 40, can easy catches oral cancer, even when they do not have their own teeth.
So, what leads to mouth cancer?
Among various things that can become the risk factors developing the disease, tobacco use and alcohol are two most common factors increasing your chance of getting the mouth cancer. There are several other risk factors including:
– Extended sun exposure
– Radiation exposure
– Poor nutrition
– Immunosuppressive drugs
– Lichen planus
– Infection with HPV (Human papillomavirus)
– Persistent irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures
If you have one of the above risk factors, it actually does not mean that you will have mouth cancer. Therefore, it is better for you to cautiously discuss with your dentist.
In some rare cases, oral can be passed down from one generation to the next.
Being a kind of cancer, oral cancer is treated as other cancers with surgery to detach the cancerous growth, and then radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to terminate any cancer cells left in order for prevention against the return of the cancer.
This disease is one of the most preventable cancers, so it is better to do something to avoid developing mouth cancer as well as hinder it coming back after successful treatment. Changing your behavior and lifestyle is the most easy way to reduce your chance of getting oral cancer.
The most common methods of prevention recommended you can do are:
– Stop using tobacco products in all forms
– Pay attention to the advised weekly limits for alcohol consumption
– Refrain from binge drinking
– Keep regular dental check-ups
– In case of dentures, remove it at night for hygiene
– Have dentures evaluated by your dentist at least every five years
– Protect yourself from sun exposure by lip balm or a hat with a brim
– Keep a balanced healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Otherwise, you are able to take a self exam at least once a month with a bright light and a mirror to see whether there is any changes in the appearance of your mouth. If you find anything suspicious, contact your dentist for further advice.
Carrying out the self exams is actually not enough, you are recommended to take oral cancer screening exams every 3 years if you are over 20 and every year if you are over 40.
Remember, it is important to regularly visit your dentist, whether you are wearing dentures or not, especially as you smoke or drink alcohol.