Oral Cancer, also known as Mouth Cancer is where an abnormal group of cells (tumour) develops on the surface of the tongue, mouth, lips or gums.
- One or more mouth ulcers that do not heal
- Red , or red & white patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue
- A swelling in your mouth that lasts for more than 3 weeks
- Smoking – People who use tobacco in any of the commonly available forms i.e. Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes and Smokeless Tobacco
- High alcohol intake (people who use both tobacco and alchohol are at particularly high risk)
- Infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Chronic Sun Exposure
There are three main treatment options of Oral Cancer, they are:
- Surgery – The cancerous cells are surgically removed
- Chemotherapy – Powerful medications are used to kill the cancerous cells
- Radiotherapy – High energy X-Rays are used to kill the cancerous cells
The treatments can be given in combinations.
Both surgery and radiotherapy can make speaking and swallowing difficult called Dysphagia. This can be a potentially serious problem. If small pieces of food enter your airways and become lodged in your lungs, it could trigger a chest infection.
Prevention/Reducing the Risk:
The 3 most effective ways of preventing the development of mouth cancer (or preventing it from reoccurring after treatment) are:
- Not Smoking
- Reducing Alcohol Intake
- Eating Healthy
HOW TO STOP SMOKING:
Top Tips for Helping to Stop Smoking –
- Prepare for the day you quit & avoid temptation – Choose a day which will not be stressful and make sure you don’t have any cigarettes or matches on you. Also avoid places and people where they maybe smoking.
- Remember all the reasons for quitting – Reduce your chances of cancer, better health, overall reduced health risks, cleaner lungs and a stronger heart
- Use Drug Treatment – Nicotine Replacement Therapies
- Other distractions to help – Talk to someone for some support, go for a brisk walk – this will help to clear you head and lungs, drink a glass of water – this keeps you occupied for those crucial few minutes of temptation, change scene – just move out of a room or a particular environment can help.
- Use a health professional for counselling.
- Last but not least, remember there is NEVER ‘just one more’ cigarette.
YOU CAN DO IT!