5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Before we can go about reducing your risk, you first need to understand the most common risk factors of oral cancer. 

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

Historically, those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer have been heavy drinkers and smokers older than age 50, but today the cancer also is occurring more frequently in nonsmoking people due to HPV16, the virus most commonly associated with cervical cancer.

The sexually transmitted human papillomavirus 16 (HPV) is related to the increasing incidence of oropharyngeal cancer (most commonly involving lymphoid tissue occurring in the tonsils or the base of the tongue).

Approximately 99 percent of people who develop an HPV oral infection will clear the virus on their own.

In approximately 1 percent of individuals, the immune system will not clear the virus and it can lay dormant for decades before potentially causing cancer, this occurs mostly in a non-smoking population composed of males four to one over females.

“Regular oral cancer examinations performed by your oral health professional remain the best method for detecting oral cancer in its early stages.”

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5 Ways to Reduce Your Oral Cancer Risk

1. Avoid tobacco in all forms.

(including vaping to be 100% safe).

2. Limit alcohol consumption.

3. Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.

4. Protect yourself again UV exposure.

5. Get vaccinated for HPV.

“This year an estimated 54,0001 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed. Of those individuals, 43 percent will not survive longer than five years, and many who do survive to suffer long-term problems, such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties with eating and speaking. The death rate associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancers remains particularly high because the cancers routinely are discovered late in their development.”

– Oral Cancer Foundation

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.

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