Thanks to the various health campaigns and awareness week, there is more and more awareness of various illnesses, including many types of cancer. However, if you were told to list some of the risk factors and early warning signs, would you know them all, or would you have to guess? In the case of many of us, we probably don’t know quite as much as we should about the early signs of oral cancer. And it’s especially important that oral cancer is spotted early, since the sooner it’s detected, the better the survival rates tend to be.
Prevalence of oral cancer
There are currently national government initiatives for the screening of breast, cervical, bowel and prostate cancers but there’s no screening for oral cancer, which is another reason that knowing the early signs is important.
Mouth cancer is described as being an “uncommon” form of the disease by NHS choices, with 1 in 50 cancer diagnoses being for this particular type.
As with avoiding many other health problems, alcohol and smoking are to be avoided in order to help minimise your risk of oral cancer. And it’s believed that people who both smoke and drink are at an even higher risk. So if you’re currently a smoker and looking for another good reason to give up cigarettes, then the oral cancer risk could well be just that. A poor diet is also known to increase the risk of oral cancer – this would typically be a diet that is lacking in vitamins and minerals. High consumption of red meat, processed meat, and fried foods fried foods are also known to heighten the risk.
While oral cancer is – as the NHS advice states – one of the more uncommon cancers, it is still responsible for over 6000 diagnoses each year in the UK alone. Following all the usual health advice such as not smoking, getting a healthy balanced diet, and drinking within the government recommended levels will all help to minimise the risk of oral cancer.
If you’re looking for more information on this disease for instance on risk factors, survival rates and so on, there are some very informative pages on the Mouth cancer Action charity’s website and also the cancer Research UK site has a page on oral cancer.
Jen Jones writes on dental plans and other health topics for a number of well being blogs and websites around the world.
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