Almost all cancers of the mouth occur in squamous cells, the type of cells that line the mouth, tongue and lips. These are called squamous cell carcinomas (cancers). Not all tumors in the mouth are cancer. Some are benign (not cancer), and some are precancerous, meaning they may become cancer. Do you know the risk factors and prevention methods of oral cancer? Here are some facts about metastatic oral cancer you need know as below:
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Anything that increases your chance of getting metastatic oral cancer is a risk factor. The main risk factors and metastatic oral cancer causes are:
Tobacco use: Most people with oral cancer use tobacco in some form. The risk increases with the length of the habit and the amount of tobacco used. Specifically, pipe smoking increases the risk for cancer of the lip and the soft palate. People who use chewing tobacco or snuff are more likely to develop cancer of the gums, cheek and lips. Living with a smoker or working in a smoking environment can cause secondhand or passive smoking, which also may increase risk.
Alcohol: Most people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers, consuming more than 21 alcoholic drinks each week. People who drink alcohol and smoke are six times as likely to get oral cancer as people who do not drink. The combination of tobacco and alcohol is particularly dangerous.
Other risk factors include:
Gender: About two thirds of people with oral cancer are men.
Race: The risk of oral cancer is higher for African-Americans.
Age: These cancers are found most often in people over 45.
Prolonged sun exposure (lip cancer)
Long-term irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures
Poor nutrition, especially a diet low in fruits and vegetables
Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV oral cancer)
Previous head and neck cancer
Lichen planus, a disease that affects the cells that line the mouth
Drinking maté, a beverage made from a type of holly tree common in South America
Chewing quids of betel, a stimulant common in Asia
Not everyone with risk factors gets oral cancer. However, if you have risk factors, you should discuss them with your doctor.
Oral Cancer Prevention
Cancers of the mouth are among the most preventable cancers. One of the most important things you can do is visit a dentist once a year for a complete oral examination.
To minimize your risk of developing oral cancer:
Avoid tobacco in all forms.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Remove your dentures at night and clean them daily
Have dentures evaluated by a dentist at least every five years
Limit sun exposure; wear a lip balm with sunscreen and a hat with a brim
Eat a well-rounded, healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables