Science

Unhealthy Lifestyle Blamed For Increase In Mouth Cancer Cases

By Christie Abagon , Nov 26, 2016 10:45 AM EST
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Watch your mouth.  Your unhealthy lifestyle may cause oral cancer.  A new data provided by Cancer Research UK shows that unhealthy lifestyle could be blamed for the alarming increase in mouth cancer over the last 20 years.

Smokers Are At A Particularly High Risk Of Getting Mouth Cancer

Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, is a cancer that occurs in any part of the mouth - on the tongue's surface, in the lips, inside the cheek, in the gums, in the roof and floor of the mouth, in the tonsils, and also the salivary glands.  In the US, it is estimated to cause 9,575 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. 

People who smoke are at a particularly high risk for getting mouth cancer.  Drinking alcohol, low fruit and vegetable diet and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) virus infection could also play a part. 

Mouth Cancer Affects More Men Than Women

 For decades, this type of cancer affected 6 men for every woman. That ratio has now become 2 men to each woman.  Mouth cancer rates for men aged 50 and above have increased by 59 percent -  from around 2,100 cases per 100,000 people a year to 4,400 in two decades.

Talk To Your Dentist About Any Weird Changes In Your Mouth

Jessica Kirby, Cancer Research UK's senior health information manager, said: "It's worrying that oral cancer has become more common. It's important to get to know your body and what's normal for you, to help spot the disease as early as possible.  An ulcer or sore in your mouth or tongue that won't go away, a lump on your lip or in your mouth, a red or red and white patch in your mouth or an unexplained lump in your neck are all things to look out for. Speak to your GP or dentist about any changes that are unusual or don't go away."

"Healthy lifestyles can help reduce the risk of developing the disease in the first place. Not smoking, drinking less alcohol and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can all help to cut our risk of mouth cancer.  HPV vaccination could help protect against oral HPV infections, and it can prevent a range of cancers associated with the HPV virus, so it's a good idea to get the vaccine if you are offered it," she concluded.

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