At some point in our lives, we’ve all been touched by the “big C,” something everyone hopes will never happen to them, their family or their friends. Cancer doesn’t discriminate when it comes to choosing its victims and rarely gives an inch in its mission to wreak havoc in our day to day lives.
Oral Cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in the UK with regards to diagnosis and this is obviously a real concern for us dental folk!
We wanted to take the opportunity on World Cancer Day, to share with you some facts around Oral Cancer and some things we can all do to help prevent Oral Cancer from affecting us.
Oral Cancer Facts:
According to Cancer Research UK there were 7,316 new cases of Oral Cancer recorded in the UK in 2012, which is a worrying amount of cases, especially when you consider that nearly 30% of those cases resulted in a death – with 2,119 deaths recorded as a result of Oral Cancer.
However, on a more positive note Cancer Research UK state that 91% of cases were preventable. Men are more likely to suffer from Oral Cancer than women, with 4,900 cases diagnosed in 2012 versus 2,400 in women. Over the last 10 years, the instance of Oral Cancer amongst the UK population has grown by 34% and by 83% since the late 1970s.
Furthermore, 1 in 75 men and 1 in 150 women will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer in their life times. There’s a very good chance it will affect us or someone close to us.
So what does that all mean? In a nutshell it means we can hugely reduce the risk of being diagnosed with Oral Cancer by being aware of how our lifestyle choices affect our oral health.
What Can We Do To Reduce The Risk For Us?
Regularly Visit Your Dentist
Ultimately, the person most likely to spot any potential issues with your Oral Health, including Oral Cancer is your Dentist & Hygiene Team. Taking a preventative approach is important and making sure you keep up your regular visits to your Dental Practice will help you get advice and guidance on how to maintain a good level of Oral Health.
Think About Your Lifestyle Choices
Although it’s each and every person’s prerogative to choose how they live their life, reducing certain types of lifestyle choices and habits can really help reduce the risk of Oral Cancer becoming an issue. Below is a list of some common behaviours that increases the risk of Oral Cancer:
- Heavy Smoking – Smoking irritates the lining of the mouth, therefore increasing the risk of Oral Cancer. Cancer Research UK states that smokers are 3 times more likely to succumb to Oral Cancer than non smokers – 65% of Oral Cancers in the UK are directly linked to smoking,
- Heavy Alcohol Consumption – An estimated 30% of Oral Cancer cases in the UK are linked to alcohol consumption. If you smoke and consume alcohol the risk of Oral Cancer is tripled. People who drink, but do not smoke are 32% more likely to suffer from Oral Cancer than people who don’t drink,
- Poor Diet – Having a poor diet increases your risk of Oral Cancer according to Cancer Research UK. An estimated 56% of Oral Cancers in the UK are linked to not eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day. The consumption of larger quantities of fruit reduce the risk of Oral Cancer by 48% & vegetables by 34%.
Making sensible lifestyle choices are key when it comes to reducing our susceptibility to Oral Cancer in the UK. As you can see from the above, there are some simple ways in which we can reduce the risk of Oral Cancer – quit smoking, drink less alcohol, eat our greens – which are always within our own control. Let’s stand together and raise awareness of this eminently preventable cancer!