How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Not only is oral cancer deadly, but it’s also one of the most potentially disfiguring types of cancer. Treating it may require surgery to remove part of the jaw, and permanent disfigurement of the face is often the result. Oral cancer and its treatments are painful and emotionally distressing. Fortunately, it’s also largely preventable. Talk to your dentist about reducing your risk of oral cancer. You should also get screened, since treating oral cancer in its early stages may offer the most favorable prognosis.

Quit using tobacco.

Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco directly cause throat and mouth cancers. There’s no good reason to use tobacco, and plenty of reasons to quit. The longer you continue to smoke, the higher your risk is of developing potentially deadly oral cancer. Nicotine addictions are difficult to overcome, but you can do it with help from your doctor and the support of your loved ones.

Limit your alcohol consumption.

Consuming alcohol to excess can increase your risk of oral cancer. If you smoke and drink alcohol, your risk skyrockets. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, people who smoke and consume alcohol have a risk of this disease that’s 15 times greater compared to non-smokers who don’t drink. Among non-smokers, an acceptable level of alcohol consumption is generally considered to be no more than two drinks daily for men and no more than one drink daily for women.

Consider getting an HPV vaccine.

Another risk factor of oral cancer is carrying the human papillomavirus (HPV). Some strains of HPV can also increase the risk of cervical cancer in women. Doctors recommend that children and adolescents get the HPV vaccine, before they’ve had a chance to be exposed to the virus. However, even if you’re an adult, your doctor might still recommend the HPV vaccine. Talk to your doctor about whether the shot might be right for you.

An oral cancer screening is part of your comprehensive dental exam at Glenwood Premier Dental. If you notice unusual symptoms between regular visits, you can schedule an additional oral cancer screening in our Hazlet office. Call (732) 264-4477.

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