- Posted by jdavis on August 1, 2011
Tobacco and alcohol are by far the most important risk factors for oral and throat cancer. You can greatly reduce your risk by not smoking and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.
Other steps you can take to help prevent oral and throat cancer or its progression include:
Use well-fitting dentures. If you wear dentures, be sure they fit properly and are well cleaned and rinsed. Oral irritation may increase your risk of oral cancer.
Don’t chew on the tissues on the inside of your mouth (inner cheek). Doing so irritates your oral tissues. This may occur during sleep, along with teeth grinding (bruxism). Talk with your dentist if this is a problem for you.
Limit your exposure to the sun. Ultraviolet light damages the skin on your lips and increases your risk of oral cancer. When you’re out in the sun, use lip balm that contains sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and lips.
Check your mouth and tongue periodically. Standing in front of a mirror, use your forefinger and thumb to pull facial tissue aside to get a good view and feel of the tissue on the inside of your lips, your cheeks and elsewhere inside your mouth, especially under your tongue. Look for bumps and for changes in color. Use your thumbs and fingers to check for lumps and tender spots. If you notice changes, talk to your dentist or doctor.
Visit your dentist twice a year. Most dentists perform a thorough examination of your mouth during each visit. He or she should conduct a direct as well as indirect (mirrored) observation of all the tissues inside your mouth.
Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A poor diet has been linked to oral and other cancers.
Oral and throat cancer can be successfully treated, but success depends on early detection.