Signs of Oral CancerOral cancer can affect many areas of the mouth including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, or the top or bottom of the mouth. Symptoms can include:
- A sore that doesn’t go away
- Irregular areas such as lumps, rough spots, or erosion
- Red or white patches
- Pain or numbness
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
What Causes Oral Cancer?While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several lifestyle factors that can increase the risk. For example, those who drink a lot of alcohol and those who smoke are more likely to get oral cancer than social drinkers and non-smokers. Age can also contribute to someone’s oral cancer risk, as those over 50 years old tend to get oral cancer more often than their younger counterparts. However, more recently the younger population has been put at greater risk of oral cancer due to the increase of HPV (human papillomavirus).
How to Reduce Your Risk of Oral CancerEven though there is no concrete way to avoid oral cancer, there are things you can do that can greatly reduce your risk of developing the disease.
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Don’t smoke or use any tobacco products
- Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen
- See your dentist