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Worried About Oral Cancer?
Published: 7/17/2013

According to the American Cancer Society, over 35,000 Americans have oral cancer. The risks are higher if you are a male, over the age of 35, or have a history of other cancers, but there are some lifestyle habits that increase anyone's risk, and some steps you can take:

  1. Don't use tobacco. Up to 90% of patients with oral cancers use tobacco, and the risk increases with the amount smoked or chewed. Quitting smoking and chewing tobacco will lower your risk, even after years of use.
  2. Moderate your drinking. About 75% to 80% of all patients with oral cancer drink alcohol frequently.
  3. Limit your exposure to sunlight. More than 30% of patients with cancers of the lip have outdoor jobs associated with prolonged and repeated exposure to sunlight.
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A diet low in the natural antioxidants fresh produce provides is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity.
  5. Know the signs. If you have a sore in your mouth that doesn't heal easily or is always bleeding, or a persistent pain in the mouth or ear, see your dentist or physician immediately. Early detection and treatment increases chances of recovery.
  6. A cup of joe? In 2012, the American Cancer Society found a link between drinking coffee and reduced risk of death from oral/pharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer. It showed drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day cut the likelihood of dying from oral/pharyngeal cancer in half. However, I don't recommend drinking coffee if you don't enjoy it, or dislike the effect it has on your nervous system or digestion.
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