Cancer is one of the most fearful ailments because most cancers are fatal. Or they bring a severe devastating change in the personality. Among various forms of cancer, Oral cancer is quite prevalent in India. It is cancer formed in tissues of the mouth or oropharynx. It is the part of the throat at the back of your mouth.
It is very much important to be aware of this cancer and take all necessary steps to prevent it.
Statistics say that by detecting it at the initial stage, the chances of survival increase multiple times.
What factors should one watch for? Let’s understand it.
Are you at risk?
A risk factor increases the probability of developing a disease. According the experts worldwide, some risk factors can be reduced by making a change in lifestyle, but some cannot.
For example, one can significantly reduce the risk by avoiding the consumption of tobacco in any form. But some risk factors such as age or family history cannot be avoided.
The prime risk factors are:
- Use of tobacco
- Heavy use of alcohol (more than 4 drinks daily)
- Using tobacco and alcohol together
- Long exposure to sunlight
- HPV infection
- Improper diet
- Consumption of betel nuts
- Eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables
As per many cancer experts, some risk factors for developing oral cancer are beyond the control of people.
The risk for men is more than for women for oral cancer.
Another risk factor is the HPV Virus or Human Papilloma Vitus. It transmits sexually. This virus is particularly linked with cancers of tissues near the back of the mouth and throat.
Signs that one should not ignore
Signs of Cancer should never be ignored because the earlier you catch them; the more are the chances of defeating cancer.
- A sore in the mouth that does not heal automatically.
- Red or white colored patches in the mouth.
- Numbness, tenderness, or pain in the mouth or lips.
- A red spot or a lump or any type of thickening on the lips.
- The crusty or eroded area on the lips.
- Difficulty while chewing, speaking, or moving the tongue.
- The change in the teeth alignment.
- Any unusual growth or lump in the throat or neck.
- Cough or sore throat that persists for a long time.
- Change in the voice.
When to see a specialist?
A routine dental checkup should involve screening for oral cancer as well. However, any change identified between two checkups should be examined by the doctor.
Symptoms such as patches inside the mouth or lips, or an open sore that doesn’t get healed longer are considered crucial. You need to meet a specialist as early as possible. In 90% of cases, these problems disappear with normal treatment. However, the remaining 10% of cases could develop complications.
Loose teeth, bleeding in the mouth, and a lump in the neck are a few symptoms that need to be consulted by doctors.
As mentioned earlier, these symptoms may not necessarily indicate oral cancer. However, you should not rule out the possibility. Hence, do not take a risk.
Prevention of Oral Cancer
As the cliché goes, “Prevention is better than cure”, one should try to minimize the probability of getting affected by this fatal disease.
Cancer specialists say that by quitting smoking, a person reduces the possibility of oral cancer by half within five years. After 20 years, this risk becomes equal to the risk of a non-smoker.
Getting the HPV vaccine is another important way of avoiding it. The vaccine reduces the possibility of getting oral cancer by 15 times less.
Thus, one can reduce the risk of oral cancer by following the easy things given in this blog.