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10 Tips to Help Lower Your Risk Of Oral Cancer (Part 2)

Written by Courteney

Posted on April 9, 2017 at 12:04 am

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Oral cancer represents approximately 4% of all cancers in the United States, and claims approximately 9,750 lives annually because most cases are detected too late. Luckily, oral cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer, as many of the risk factors are dependent on lifestyle choices such as drinking too much, smoking or eating unhealthily (as we looked at in Part 1). Let’s take a look at some more preventative measures you can take:

  1. Watch out for HPV – Infections of the high risk HPV strain #16 in the throat (spread via oral sex or deep kissing) have been linked to oropharyngeal cancer. Not all people who contract high risk strains of HPV will develop cancer, but it does increase the risk of oral and other cancers, so be sure to practice safe sexual behavior.
  2. Stay active – Leading a healthy, active lifestyle helps lessen your risk for developing any kind of cancer, or other diseases for that matter. Keeping your body in a ship-shape will help it to fight off disease better.
  3. Check yourself – We all know we should do self examinations for breast, prostate or skin cancer, and your mouth should be no exception. By using a compact mirror or an angled dental mirror (you can buy them at most dollar stores), take note of what your mouth looks like so you can see if your gums change, or if you develop abnormal spots. Abnormal colored patches on your gums, tongue or cheeks are called leukoplakia and eyrthroplakia, and they could eventually become cancerous so it is best to get your dentist to check on them if they develop.
  4. Chemoprevention is an option – If you are at very high risk for oral cancer because of a combination of factors such as advanced age, heredity or if you are prone to leukoplakia eyrthroplakia growths, talk to your doctor about chemoprevention medications which may help prevent cancer development.
  5. Get regular dental checkups – It is very important to visit your dentist annually and your dental hygienist about every 6 months so the professionals can take a look at your mouth to make sure everything looks healthy, as well as ensure that your oral hygiene techniques are on point.

So, there you have it, the last few of our oral cancer prevention tips! While oral cancer is not completely preventable, practicing these 10 tips will certainly put you at much lower risk of developing it. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

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