Oral cancer is cancer that develops in the tissues of throat or mouth. It can occur in the tonsils, tongue, gums, as well as other parts of the mouth. Though there has been a slight reduction in death casualties due to oral cancer, still the problem has not fully resolved. Just like other types of cancers, even oral cancer can affect people of all ages. Having full knowledge about the symptoms, signs, and causes of oral cancer can help you stay alert and get the problem diagnosed at an early stage. It is because oral cancer is one such type of cancer, which can be cured if diagnosed at an early level.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Just like other types of cancer, the symptoms of oral cancer vary from person to person. Some of the common signs of oral cancer are:
- Mouth sores
- Extreme pain
- Red or White patches on the tonsils, gums, or the lining of the mouth
- Swelling in neck
- Lump in cheek
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
- Feeling something stuck in throat
- Trouble moving tongue or jaw
- Constant bad breath
- Weight loss
Warning Signs that Put You at Risk for Oral Cancer
Researchers are not confirmed what causes oral cancer, but scientists now believe that cancer begins after the mutations or damage in the genetic code that controls death and cell growth.
Such factors are known to increase the risk of developing oral cancer:
Tobacco when consumed in any form, be it cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or chewing tobacco, it can result in oral cancer. In fact, it is one of the prominent reasons for oral cancer among young and old individuals.
Drinking Large Volumes of Alcohol
Heavy drinkers are more likely to get diagnosed with oral cancer. For individuals who consume tobacco along with alcohol, the danger of experiencing oral cancer is much higher.
Exposure to Sun
Excessive exposure to the sun is another risk factor of experiencing oral cancer. Excess exposure of sun on your lips increases the risk of oral cancer. It is therefore suggested to always use a lip balm or a sunscreen with SPF on lips before stepping out in the sun.
HPV or Human Papillomaviruses
Cancers, which are linked to HPV, are usually found at the base of tongue, back of throat, and in the tonsils. Though the overall cases of oral cancer are dropping, cases of oral cancer due to HPV are rising.
Other than this, if you are more than 45 years of age and are exposed to radiation then you can develop oral cancer. The possibilities of oral cancer are also higher among people suffering from neck or head cancer.
How to Minimize Your Risks for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is the most preventable forms of cancers. Hence, you can start practicing the preventing measures at any early stage to confirm you don’t meet this problem.
Here are some of the ways to minimize your risks for oral cancer:
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker. If you are not a smoker then don’t start it any cost. Smoking is also like an addiction, and hence, must be avoided completely.
- Limit your exposure to the sun. In addition to this, you must also wear an SPF lip balm on your lip before stepping out in the sun.
- Consume a well-rounded and balanced diet including vegetables and fruits. Try to maintain a healthy diet throughout the week.
- If you are an alcohol lover then try to drink alcohol in moderation. If possible, then try to avoid drinking alcohol completely.
- Removing dentures at the night and cleaning them every day can also prevent the occurrence of oral cancer.
- It is essential to practice good oral health habits. This would ensure that you don’t experience oral cancer ever.
To Sum Up
Yes, it’s not possible to fully prevent oral cancer as this ailment can occur with anyone. However, taking such steps can help reduce your chances of meeting oral cancer to a great extent. Also, try to visit an oncologist if any signs of oral cancer are identified and diagnosed.