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Mouth Cancer - what increases my risks of Mouth Cancer?


Image Credit: By Bionerd - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link
Following from our last blog, Mouth Cancer Action Month - What is Mouth Cancer and how do I spot it?, written in response to mouth cancer awareness month, this blog will look at lifestyle choices and how these can increase your risk of contracting this insidious disease.

Mouth cancer awareness is surprisingly important as it can affect absolutely anyone, 91% of the diagnoses are actually linked to lifestyle. Essentially, the choices we make about our lifestyle can alter the likelihood of contracting Mouth Cancer.

Mouth Cancer Causes: The Big RIsk Factors

 Tobacco

It is no surprise that smoking and the health implications of this lifestyle choice are negative. Smoking facilitates the transformation of the saliva in your mouth which damages the cells and can turn them cancerous.

Statistically, 1 in 5 people in the UK smoke. 2 in 3 mouth cancer cases are individuals who do smoke. I’d say the numbers speak for themselves – obviously I am not saying that IF you smoke you WILL get cancer and if you don’t smoke you WILL NOT get mouth cancer. I am just pointing out the strong relationship between smokers and mouth cancer cases.

Research has shown that ex-smokers are able to reduce their risk of mouth cancer by more than a 1/3rd . If you are considering kicking the habit, use Mouth Cancer Action Month as your time to do it!

(Chewing or smokeless tobacco also increases risks! This still contains nicotine, in fact up to twice as much as a standard cigarette. This can increase risks of Mouth Cancer by 4 times)

Alcohol

Without sounding too preachy, we all know alcohol is not good for our health. I also know that the majority of us will not give up alcohol, it’s about the amount we drink. Alcohol in excess is linked to Mouth Cancer – roughly 1/3rd of all cases are linked to excessive alcohol consumption.

Those of us who smoke and drink in excess actually increase their risk of mouth cancer 30 times. For those of us who fall into the drinking and smoking group, it is even more important that you visit your dentist regularly to make sure that your mouth health is regularly reviewed.

Diet

Diet plays such a huge role in our general health and wellbeing it stands to reason that this will be linked to Mouth Cancer contraction. Roughly ½ of all mouth cancer cases are linked to a bad diet.

A ‘good’ diet – one rich in fruit and veggies- will keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of mouth cancer. Some more facts and figures for you ( we all love a statistic ) the high intake of following foods actually reduce risks of mouth cancer by the stated percentage
Fruit 48% lower risk
Vegetables 34% lower risk
Vitamin C supplements 24% lower risk
Calcium supplements 36% lower risk
Caffeinated Coffee 39% lower risk ( 4 cups per day)
Green Tea 20% lower risk

All statistics taken from www.mouthcancer.org 

HPV The Human Papillomavirus

This is a bit of a difficult subject to cover so I’m just going to go for it. Oral sex is causing a problem in the UK with experts saying HPV (transmitted mainly through oral sex) will overtake tobacco as the main cause of Mouth Cancer here in the UK.

You can find out more on HPV from your GP or at www.hpvaction.org

Environment

You may not smoke directly but those exposed to tobacco smoke your Mouth Cancer risk is doubled compared to those not exposed to second hand smoke over a 15 year period.

This just goes to show that your environment impacts your health as much as your personal lifestyle choices. So maybe it is time to be a little selfish and really think about where you are spending your time because this could have a direct impact on your risks of Mouth Cancer.

 

Can Mouth Cancer Be Cured?

I would say it's better not to have to test this question out in real life! In summary, elements of your lifestyle which are in your control, can impact your risk of Mouth Cancer. I am not saying completely overhaul your lifestyle, do not ever touch a drop of alcohol again and never speak to a smoker. This is unrealistic and simply not possible. What I am asking is that you really think about your lifestyle, make positive changes where you can and look after your health.
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Sunday, 15 September 2019

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