5 Ways to Prevent Oral Cancer
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 43,250 people are diagnosed with oral cancer per year and over 8,000 of those cases will be terminal. The five-year survival rate of an oral cancer diagnosis hovers around 50 percent. This is grim, and the reason the survival rate is so bad is that it often goes undetected until the disease has significantly progressed. Therefore, prevention and early detection are key.
Eat an Antioxidant-Rich Diet
Cancer-fighting foods such as dark leafy vegetables, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, green tea, tomatoes and soy are all lauded for their nutritional content and anti-cancer components. While the occasional unhealthy splurge likely won’t make a difference, your everyday diet needs to be full of antioxidants.
Quit Using Tobacco Products
Whether its cigarettes, a pipe or chewing tobacco, stopping the use of tobacco can reduce your risk of cancer throughout your body and especially in your mouth and throat. Smoking or using other tobacco products is one of the leading causes of cancer, and one of the most preventable. If you’re having trouble quitting, seek out a tobacco cessation program online or in your local area for help.
See Your Dentist Every Six Months
Your dentist or oral hygienist not only cleans your teeth and polishes them, he or she is also inspecting all the tissues on your mouth for any changes. Tiny spots on your tongue or gums can be removed before they bloom into cancer. Dentists like Dr. Bryan Murray can also look into your throat to spot any changes to the tissues there, as well.
Perform a Self-Exam Monthly
Using a mouth mirror available at nearly any drug store, take the time to check your mouth carefully for any changes. Not only will this help you notice any deterioration in your teeth, it will help you spot changes on your tongue, the roof of your mouth or the lining of your cheeks. Shining a bright light onto a mirror can also help you get a clear view of your throat.
Lower or Eliminate Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is not kind to the delicate lining of your mouth and throat and can also cause dry mouth. Not only can this destroy your teeth, it can damage your tissues and make them more likely to become cancerous. Keep drinks to special occasions or cut them out altogether.
Preventing oral cancer is largely a matter of good hygiene and habits. By following these tips, you can decrease your risk of a diagnosis while also setting yourself up to find any tissue changes quickly, before they have a chance to spread.
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