Almost 46,000 cases of oral and pharyngeal cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. More than 8,650 people die from them annually.
What puts you at higher risk of oral cancer?
- Smoking or chewing any tobacco products
- Drinking an average of 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day
- Infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV)
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning aids on the lips
How can you lower your risk for developing oral cancer?
- Don’t smoke (or quit smoking)
- Don’t chew tobacco products
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Get the HPV vaccine
- Protect your lips from excessive sun exposure by seeking shade, wearing a large-brimmed hat, and using lip applications with SPF 15 or greater
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- See your dentist or doctor regularly and request a check for abnormalities that may indicate pre-cancer or cancer
- Have suspicious spots biopsied
- There are no regular screening tests for these cancers
Check out these useful resources about oral cancer prevention: