Oral Cancer Facts
No matter what stage you are in your life, it’s possible that you know someone who has been affected by oral cancer. While it isn’t as common as some other cancers such as breast or prostate, it still affects thousands of lives every single year. Here are some facts about oral cancer so that you can practice preventive care not only for yourself but those around you as well.
1. All forms of tobacco (not just cigarettes) increase your risk.
Some people may be under the impression that only smoking tobacco can increase your risk of oral and lung cancer. However, chewing tobacco and cigars can also leave you more susceptible. Any type of tobacco product that you consume, even if it’s secondhand, has the potential to harm your body. If you are a smoker, consider reaching out to your doctor or another healthcare provider for resources to help you quit.
2. Oral cancer is usually not found until the later stages.
Part of the reason why preventative care for oral cancer is so important is that it’s proved to be harder to diagnose early on. Many cases aren’t discovered until the disease is much more developed, making it more difficult to cure. Treatments for oral cancers found to be in the later stages could also result in more intense treatments. Talk to your doctor about how to assess your risk for oral cancer, as genetics and lifestyle could play a role in your personal risk factor.
3. Oral cancer includes the lips.
It’s easy to forget about wearing sunscreen on your body every day, but what about your lips? Your lips need just as much protection from harmful UV rays as the rest of your body. Too much sun exposure could result in lip cancer just as an excessive amount of time in the sun can cause melanoma.
4. Quitting tobacco can reduce your risk by 33%.
Depending on how long you smoked or chewed tobacco, your risk of oral cancer can be reduced by around 33%. In addition to talking to your doctor about resources for quitting, patients who have successfully quit smoking find that reaching out to friends and family for emotional support is also beneficial. Furthermore, focusing your energy on work or a new sport like jogging or cycling can help divert your cravings and clear your mind.
Be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams to prevent and detect diseases such as oral cancer. Your top dentist in Des Moines, IA can be reached at (515) 277-6657 and (515) 225-8888.