April is Oral Cancer Prevention Month. If we’re to prevent oral cancer, we need to be mindful of easy-to-follow lifestyle measures that can help you both lower risk of oral cancer and/or increase the likelihood of early diagnosis and successful treatment.
Cancer that is developed in the oral cavity is called oral cancer and is also known as head and neck cancers. Oral cancers generally develop in the tongue and in the mouth walls. It can spread through the lymphatic system and bloodstream to other parts of the body, including lymph nodes, neck, and lungs.
Early detection of the cancer will give the best prognosis. So we should be alert and observe any changes that are taking place in our mouth like swellings, ulcers, lumps, spots, discoloration, etc., that lasts more than two weeks. If you suspect oral cancer, consult a dentist immediately to check whether these changes could be cancer.
Suggestions to prevent oral cancer
1.Quit smoking – Tobacco contains at least 50 carcinogens that are linked to cancer. Studies indicate that there is a definitive link between the use of tobacco products and the development of oral cancer. One study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, found that more than eight out of 10 oral cancer patients were smokers.
2.Eliminate or reduce your intake of alcohol.
3.Protect your skin from prolonged sun exposure. Apply broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen to any exposed skin, including your lips. Lip balms with high SPF rating can be used for lip protection.
4.Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially those with high concentration of antioxidants like mangoes, berries, grapes, apples, watermelon, onion, garlic, pumpkin, eggplant, carrot, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, and broccoli.
5.Keep up with your oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing.
6.Visit your dentist regularly for checkups.
7.Consult a doctor immediately if you observe any symptoms developing. Remember, the sooner oral cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis can be.