Habits that can lead to mouth cancer
Mouth cancer is one of the least well known cancers, but it kills more people each year than testicular and cervical cancer combined.
, the number of new cases have soared by nearly 50 per cent in the last 10 years. Each year around 6,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, and around 1,800 people die from it. UK
This year, as part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, the British Dental Health Foundation are aimimg to increase awareness of the warning signs and risk factors for mouth cancer, and urge people ‘If in doubt, get checked out’.
Habits that put you at risk of mouth cancer
Everyday habits that increase your risk of mouth cancer include:
This is the number one risk factor for mouth cancer. The saliva in your mouth helps spread around the carcinogens in cigarette smoke, increasing your risk.
Helps smoke absorption in the mouth, so drinking alcohol while smoking increases your risk of mouth cancer even more. If you smoke and drink heavily you are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
Paan, areca nut and gutka are as dangerous as smoking tobacco, if not more so.
Experts now think that Human papilloma virus – transmitted during oral sex - could soon overtake alcohol and smoking as the major cause of mouth cancer.
Poor diet is associated with up to a third of mouth cancer cases. Fruit, vegetables, egg and fish consumption help to lower your risk.
Recent research in the
found that people with chronic gum disease had an increased risk of developing oral and neck cancers. US
Mouth cancer warning signs
Around two-thirds of mouth cancer cases are discovered in the later stages of the disease. But early detection of mouth cancer can improve five year survival rates to 90 per cent.
Regular dental check ups may catch the disease in its early stages before you are even aware it exists. Common symtoms which you should always get checked out include:
- Ulcers which don’t heal within three weeks
- Red and white patches in the mouth
- Any unusual changes, lumps and swellings in the mouth (can be painless)