SouthOfMetro.com |5 Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Oral Cancer | Oral cancer is a catch-all term for cancers that develop on the lips, cheeks, tongue, the floor of the mouth, sinuses, palates, and the throat. It usually begins as a growth or a sore that won’t disappear and can become fatal if not dealt with early on. Other symptoms include:
- Inexplicable mouth bleeding
- Inexplicable pain, loss of feeling, or tenderness in any area of the mouth, face, or neck
- Soreness or feeling like something is caught at the back of the throat
- Difficulty speaking, chewing or swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
- Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change in voice
- Aching ears
- Changes in how your dentures or teeth fit together
A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that oral cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide, with more men affected than women. Despite its prevalence, it doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything to protect yourself from this disease.
Doing simple things can help you avoid this illness altogether. Unconvinced? Here are five practices that could lessen your risk of oral cancer:
Read about oral cancer
Knowledge is a powerful tool in preventing oral cancer. After all, knowing the details, particularly the risk factors and potential causes of oral cancer, can help you reduce your risk of acquiring the disease, if not prevent it altogether.
Oral cancer happens when cells in the mouth develop molecular mutations that allow cancer cells to divide and grow. This leads to the death of healthy cells and the accumulation of cancer cells to form a cyst or tumor that can spread to the different parts of the body.
While it’s not always apparent why these mutations occur, scientists have pinpointed some factors that contribute to a higher risk of oral cancer. This includes:
- Heavy drinking of alcohol
- Compromised immunity
- Excessive exposure to the sun (particularly the lips)
- Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Use of any kind of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, and chewing tobacco
Take note that some patients still develop oral cancer even without any known cause. This is where dental visits for routine oral cancer screenings in Fort Lauderdale become very helpful.
Don’t use tobacco
As mentioned earlier, tobacco use can put you at a higher risk of cancer. In fact, smoking alone has been found to contribute to the progression of several types of cancer, including lung, mouth, larynx, throat, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervical cancers.
Besides smoking and pipe use, chewing tobacco is also believed to increase cancer risk, particularly in the pancreas and oral cavity. Even secondhand smoke exposure can increase your chances of acquiring serious ailments, like lung cancer.
That said, avoiding the use of any tobacco products is one of the simplest yet highly effective cancer prevention methods doctors recommend. If you need help stopping tobacco use, ask for advice from your doctor about the different strategies on quitting.
Maintain a healthy diet
While a healthy diet alone is not enough to prevent you from getting oral cancer, choosing what you eat wisely could lower your risk.
Below are some of the most helpful advice medical experts have on this matter:
Limit your consumption of processed meat
Based on an International Agency for Research on Cancer report, cancer risk slightly increases with higher processed meat consumption. Therefore, reducing the amount of these food products in your diet or removing them altogether could significantly lower the risk of cancer.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
When your body lacks nutrients, you’re more likely to experience changes in your mouth and body. These changes could leave you susceptible to various diseases, including oral cancer.
To avoid this, be sure to pack your meals with lots of fruits and vegetables – particularly carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts – that contain the vitamins and antioxidants necessary to boost your immunity. Ideally, eat at least five servings of these whole foods a day and get as much variety as possible.
Don’t overcook veggies.
Some vegetables are best consumed raw, especially if your goal is to get the most cancer-fighting nutrients from them.
If you decide to cook them, don’t overdo it. Instead, remove the vegetables from the heat once they get tender enough while still having some life in them.
It is also better to bake, broil, boil, or steam rather than fry foods, as cooking oils can form cancer-causing substances when exposed to high temperatures.
If you can’t quit alcohol, drink it in moderation.
Like tobacco use, alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of certain cancers. Heavy drinking is found to irritate the mouth over the years, leaving it vulnerable to growths that could lead to oral cancer.
According to experts, you’re twice as likely to get oral cancer if you drink alcohol three to four times daily. The more you drink alcohol, the higher the chances of you getting oral cancer. If it can’t be helped, keep the consumption to one glass a day for women or two for men.
Visit your dentist regularly.
Dentists in Fort Lauderdale can do more than fill your cavities, polish your teeth, and extract your teeth. They can also help you monitor the condition of your mouth.
During annual dental checkups, dentists inspect the inside of the mouth – from the bottom of the tongue to the inside of the cheeks – for any growth that could lead to cancer. This way, they can identify problems early on and aid in the faster treatment of dental conditions, including oral cancer.
Look carefully at your mouth
Since your dentist can’t see your mouth every day, it’s up to you to watch out for any abnormalities that may occur inside it.
Get in front of a mirror and check for unusual red or white patches and ulcers that stay for three weeks or more. Inspect both the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as your gums, tongue, lips, and the inside of your cheeks.
If you spot anything suspicious or growths you’re not sure of, talk to your dentist.
Be Oral Cancer-Free
Staying oral cancer-free requires adopting habits that will help to keep your teeth, mouth, and throat healthy. Start by doing the simple things listed in this article and maintain a healthier lifestyle.