Oral cancer cases are growing at a pace not to feel encouraged about. Both men and women are facing this problem cutting across geographies and age barrier. This is mostly due to bad lifestyle choices, coupled with poor nutrition that are giving rise to cancer cases of the mouth, jaw, cheek, oral cavity etc. Even if medical science has advances and world-class cancer treatments are a reality, the growing cases of oral cancer are something that can’t be wished under the carpet.
It’s therefore important to know the risk factors that doctors associate with oral cancer. This will shed some good light on the endemic nature of the problem. The risk factors may never tell a complete picture though they give some clarity on the causes that are more likely to cause oral cancer. If you knew them, it would be easy to prevent the risk of oral cancer.
Here are risk factors linked with oral cancer –
- Tobacco use
Tobacco use is easily the biggest risk factors for oral cancer. In fact, the majority of oral cancer cases are found among people who use tobacco. Whether you smoke or chew, the risk is always there with tobacco. Studies have long show how smokers users of tobacco are many times more at risk to developing oral cancer than non-smokers. Tobacco in any form and from any source and with continued use can cause risk of cancer of the mouth, check, jaw, lungs, larynx etc. People who use tobacco products are also at a risk for oral cancer.
- Drinking Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is one of major risk factors of oral cancer. Those who drink are more prone to cancer of oral cavity than non-drinkers. In fact, some two-third patients with oral care are heavy drinkers which tells how the disease is linked to your habit of drinking. And if someone is both, heavy drinker as well as heavy smoker, the risk will definitely multiply. People who drink a glass or two are not at risk of oral cancer. So, you can cut back on the drinking habit and greatly minimize the risk.
- Betel quid and gutka
The risk of oral cancer is far greater in people who chew gutka or betel quid. The betel quid people chew has areca nut, line, spices and other harm ingredients which can increase the risk of cancer of the mouth. Similarly, chewing gutka which is a blend of tobacco and betel quid, can also increase the risk of oral cancer. You can clearly see how the tobacco items you consider as refreshments can actually pose grave risk to the mouth and oral cavity. So, avoid the habit of betel quid and gutka and stay on the safe side.
- Age and gender
Yes, age is also a risk factor of oral cancer. In fact, young people are less likely to get struck with oral cancer as this disease takes many years to develop. These cancers are however mostly found in people older than 55, or most patients with this cancer are to that age when the disease struck them. Similarly, oral cancer is more common in men than women. This however may be result of the tobacco, smoking, alcohol etc. which men do more than women. But yes, both these risk factors are not as strong as those of tobacco and alcohol use.
- Ultraviolet (UV) light
The sunlight may be the elixir of life, but it can actually also pose health risks. A lot of research has already been done to establish a link between the UV light and health and the results are not something to feel good about. Oral cancer, particular cancer of the lip, are more likely to strike people who stay outdoor for longer period. Which means, exposure to the sunlight for long periods of time can put you to a greater risk of oral cancer.
- Weakened immune system and poor nutrition
People with weak immune system are more likely at risk of oral cancer than those whose body defence is solid. A weak immune system could be the result of genes or genetics. Similarly, poor nutrition may also be one of risk factors of oral cancer. A die low in fruits and vegetables means your nutrition is poor and this will always increase the risk of oral cancer. To know more on the subject, it’s always better to seek a dentist appointment and clear all the doubts. This will help you know how to maintain a better dental health forever.
Author: Praveen Singh