While smoking and drinking alcohol are significant risk factors for oral cancer, you don’t necessarily have to be a heavy drinker or smoker to be considered at-risk for oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 25% of individuals who’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer have never touched a cigarette or drank heavily.
Thankfully, you can try lowering your risk factors for oral cancer through regular oral cancer screenings by your dentist at Avenue Dental Group in Menomonee Falls, WI, Dr. Brian Stark, Dr. Thomas J. Dudley, or Dr. Eyad Bittar. You should likewise find out your specific risk factors for oral cancer and work with your dentist to manage or eliminate them.
Lots of individuals who’ve been diagnosed with some form of oral cancer have used or use tobacco. Put simply, you have a higher risk of getting oral cancer the longer you use tobacco in any form. The kind of tobacco you use matters as well. For instance, those who chew tobacco typically develop lip, cheek, or gum cancer, while pip smokers usually develop soft palate or lip cancer. Keep in mind that secondhand smoke increases cancer risk for nontobacco users too.
An estimated 2/3 of individuals who have oral cancer are male. The reasons for this may be that males drink alcohol and smoke tobacco more regularly than females.
Drinking Alcohol AND Smoking
Take note that alcohol on its own isn’t an independent oral cancer risk factor, the ACS states. This means that if you’re a heavy alcohol drinker but do not smoke tobacco, you are most likely not at an elevated risk for oral cancer. However, regular alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking put you at high risk for oral cancer.
Studies have found that diets, like the Mediterranean diet, which incorporate high amounts of veggies and fruits are associated with a reduced risk for developing oral cancer.
Although the average diagnosis age for oral cancer is about 62 years old, this cancer, as with most cancers, could still develop in younger individuals. The risk, however, increases after 50 years of age, peaking about age 60 to 70.
It’s likewise vital to note that unprotected sun exposure, radiation exposure, genetic conditions, immunosuppressants, and past oral or head and neck cancer could increase your odds as well. So make sure to undergo routine oral cancer screenings with your dentist in Menomonee Falls, WI, just to be on the safe side.
For Help Managing Your Oral Cancer Risk, We Can Help
Book a meeting with your dentists here at Avenue Dental Group in Menomonee Falls, WI, Dr. Brian Stark, Dr. Thomas J. Dudley, or Dr. Eyad Bittar, by dialing (262) 251-6555.