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Oral Cancer - who is at risk!

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

oral cancer ribbon

India bears the burden of having more than 34% of Oral Cancer patients in the world. There were about 1.2 lakh reported cases of oral cancer in 2018 and more than 72 thousand deaths because of it in India alone.

Generally the men are more in numbers than woman among overall cases of oral cancer.

Many people believe that only tobacco users are at risk of oral cancer, but it is not true. Even non-tobacco users do develop oral cancers, and hence should look out for any early signs.

Lets understand more about Oral Cancer!

1. What is oral cancer?

Cancer that occurs in the tissues of oral(mouth) cavity (beginning from the lips and extending backwards up to the front part of the tonsils) or oro-pharynx (part of the throat) is termed as "Oral Cancer".

2. Who is at risk of Oral Cancer?

  • Tobacco & areca nut/betel nut (supari) consumpttion

  1. All forms of tobacco, including pipes, beedi, cigarettes, cigars, & chewing (smokeless) tobacco.

  2. Paan with betel nut can also be a cause. ​

  • Sharp teeth & ill-fitting dentures: Chronic irritation to gums and cheek by sharp edges of teeth or ill fitting dentures. It is recommended to see your prosthodontist as soon as you have any of these problems. It is a lesser known fact, but a faulty prosthesis with sharp edges can be a major cause.

  • Regular Diet : It is long been suggested that there is a association between diet and oral cancer. A quantifiable & well-established protective effect of a diet rich in vegetables & fruits has been seen in several studies.

  • Alcohol consumption: consumption of alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. The risk is about twice as high in people who more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day as compared to those who don’t drink. The risk of oral cancer is even higher in those people who use both tobacco & alcohol.

  • Human Papilloma virus (HPV): HPV infection increases the risk of certain types of oral cancer, especially in younger people.

  • Weak immune system: People with weak immunity are more prone to suffer from oral cancers. Certain immune deficiency diseases at birth, radiotherapy, medicines given to organ transplant recipients and the Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) may be responsible for weak immune system.

  • Exposure to ultra violet rays of Sun: It may cause lip cancer.

3. What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

  • An ulcer or sore in the mouth that does not heal.

  • Red or White patches inside the mouth

  • Ant lump in the mouth or neck

  • Hardening or Thickening of the Tongue or Cheek.

  • Difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the tongue.

  • A persistent sore throat and hoarseness

  • Persistent nosebleeds & a stuffy nose

  • Unexplained loose teeth

4. Methods of Prevention of Oral Cancer!

  • Not to use Tobacco: Stopping consumption of Tobacco or related products is the first and most important step to prevent oneself from oral cancer.

  • Healthy Diet: Including more fibrous food in your diet is one way to increase immunity as well as maintaining natural balance of the body

Regular Dental Examination: It is one crucial step for early detection of any abnormality in your oral cavity. A Dental professional will be best able to detect any precancerous growth in your mouth, hence preventing you from the danger of Oral Cancer. This is important even if you are a non-alcoholic, or non-tobacco user & even if you have no teeth in your mouth.

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