Cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the world.Most of us will, at some time be impacted by the condition in one way or another, whether we ourselves or one of our loved ones is is diagnosed with the disease. Coping with cancer is one of the toughest challenges we will ever face. As far as mouth cancer is concerned, diagnoses have risen by more than 40% in the last ten years alone. It is also one of the few cancers which is predicted to continue to rise in the coming years. Mouth cancer can be detected in its early stages, but it does mean we need to be vigilant, and regularly have our mouths checked for signs of cancer. We must act quickly if we see anything unusual in or around the mouth by seeking help from our doctor or dentist at the earliest opportunity.
Mouth cancer does not discriminate! It really can affect anybody, although it is more strongly associated with the age and gender of a person. Mouth cancer is more likely to be found in men over the age of 40, while lifestyle factors such as alcohol and tobacco also play a role. By amending our choices each day, and changing some habits, we can greatly influence our overall health.
The five key risk factors are as follows:
- Tobacco: Tobacco causes saliva to damage cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous. It is the leading cause of maouth cancer.
- Alcohol: Excessive drinking of alcohol is linked to more than a third of mouth cancers in men, and a fifth in women. People who are heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35 times more at risk.
- HPV: The human papilloma virus - the world's most common sexually transmitted virus is increasingly being linked to mouth cancer cases
- Diet: A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.
- Chewing Tobacco or smokeless tobacco such as the betel berry are not safe alternatives to traditinal cigarettes.
(Information and statistics provided bythe Oral Health Foundation)