Oral Cancer: Prevention and Treatment
Oral cancer, which includes cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and pharynx (throat), appears as a growth or sore in your mouth that does not go away.
When it comes to oral health, most of us are usually focused on avoiding cavities or a bad breath and never really think about steps to prevent oral cancer, which can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
Below are 4 tips to prevent oral cancer:
1) Avoid use of tobacco: Smokeless tobaccos are placed directly in the mouth and chewed. This practice, in the long run can create gray-white ulcers called leukoplakia in the mouth that can become cancerous. Smokeless tobacco also contains chemicals known to damage a gene that protects against cancer.
Both smoking and smokeless tobacco play a direct role in causing cancer.
2) Consume alcohol in moderation: Alcohol plays a role in changing the body’s chemistry to break down its defenses against cancer and those who consume more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day increase their risk of oral cavity cancers by as much as 2 to 3 times.
3) Protect your lips from the sun: Lip cancer is directly related to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and those who have prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to develop lip cancer. Just as the skin, lips are also sensitive to the sun and therefore, it is advisable to use a protective lip balm with SPF when you’re directly exposed to the sun.
4) See your dentist regularly: Very often, dentists and dental hygienists are the first one to notice potentially cancerous growths. If the dentist suspects growth of cancerous cells, then he/she will recommend you an ENT specialist or an oncologist for further examination.
5) Get Vaccinated for HPV: Human papilloma virus (HPV), particularly HPV16, is strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancers, especially those at the back of the mouth. The best way to prevent HPV is to get vaccinated before you become sexually active. With vaccines now available that protect against two strains of HPV (recommended for 11 to 26 year-olds), there is hope that the number of cases of these cancers will decrease over time as more people are vaccinated.
Oral cancer is treated in the same way as other cancers, i.e., with surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancerous cells.
At PSRI Hospital (http://www.psrihospital.com/speciality-detail/oncologyOnco-Surgery ), we have highly specialized oncologist and latest technologies to treat cancer.