The American Cancer Society estimates around 54,000 new oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer cases in 2022. More significant is the estimated death rate of more than 20% (11,230 deaths) in the same year. Evidently, oral cancer is one of the most malignant cancers. Keep reading to know some more facts related to oral cancer.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancers form when cells on the lips or tongue, tonsils, oropharynx, gums, the floor of the mouth, or salivary glands mutate (i.e., undergo abnormal changes). These changes cause the cells to multiply and divide atypically, which leads to the death of healthy cells and tumors that may spread.
What Is the Leading Cause of Oral Cancer?
There are several reasons why dental crowns come loose and fall off.Tobacco use in the forms of cigarettes, chews, cigars, pipe, and snuff is the leading cause of oral cancer. In terestingly, smoking is associated with more than 12 types of cancer, whereas smokeless tobacco has more than 28 carcinogenic chemicals. Other causes of oral cancer include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Prolonged and regular exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays
- Gender—oral cancers are twice as common in men than in women
- Excess body weight
- Age—patients diagnosed with oral cancers are usually more than 55 years. However, people younger than 50 are more likely to get affected by HPV-linked oral cancers.
What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?
Visit your dentist if you notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- A sore or a lump on your lip or anywhere in your mouth or throat
- Feeling that something is stuck in your throat
- Red or white patches in your mouth
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Numbness, pain, tenderness in the mouth or lips
- Difficulty talking, swallowing, chewing, or laughing
However, none of the symptoms are a definitive indication of oral cancer. Your dentist will check abnormal growth or changes on your lips and in your mouth, and recommend a biopsy for oral cancer screening if needed.
Five Important Facts About Oral Cancer
- Secondhand smoking increases the risk for oral cancer
- Lack of dental hygiene may lead to oral cancer
- Low nutrition may cause oral cancer
- Fair-skinned smokers are more prone to lip cancer
- Oral cancer is preventable
A study showed that secondhand smoke could multiply the risk of developing oral cancer by 51 percent for individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke has about 70 cancer-causing chemicals. Common sources of secondhand smoke include the smoke exhaled by a smoker and from the lighted cigarette end, cigars, pipes, or tobacco burning in a hookah.
Poor oral hygiene, especially because of ill-fitted dentures, may increase the risk of oral cavity cancer.
Vitamin A deficiency and a diet low in fruits and vegetables may raise the chances of developing oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
The combination of fair skin and smoking, especially in men, increases the possibility of developing lip cancer, a type of oral cancer.
Quitting smoking and drinking, UV protection, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups can help prevent oral cancer.
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