Oral cancer can affect anyone. However, there are certain things that can considerably increase your chance of developing it one day, and they’re referred to as risk factors. In this article, we will discuss the various risk factors for oral cancer, allowing you to know if your chance of having the said type of cancer is increased.

Before we begin, there’s one very important matter that you need to know: just because you have one, some or all of the risk factors you will come across in a few doesn’t necessarily mean that you are bound to have oral cancer one day. Similarly, not having any of the risk factors below does not mean right away that you will not develop oral cancer in the future. Some people with these risk factors do not have oral cancer, and some people with oral cancer did not have any of these risk factors before being diagnosed with the said type of cancer.

Some risk factors for oral cancer, by the way, cannot be changed. They include age, gender and family history. On the other hand, some risk factors for oral cancer can actually be changed. Examples include cigarette smoking and too much alcohol intake. That’s great news because it means that it’s very much possible for you to considerably reduce your chance of developing oral cancer one day even if you have some of its unchangeable risk factors.

Without any more ado, let’s check out the risk factors for oral cancer:

Older Age

Doctors say that oral cancer is usually diagnosed at 62 years of age. Experts add that about 2/3 of all people with oral cancer are over 55 years of age. So in other words, your risk of having oral cancer increases the older you get.

Gender

Statistics show that oral cancer is more common in men than in women. In fact, you have double the risk of battling oral cancer one day if you’re a male. Experts say that it’s probably because more men are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol excessively than women, and those habits are regarded as major risk factors for oral cancer.

Family History

Just like many other forms of cancer, oral cancer is something that runs in families. This only means that you are at high risk of suffering from it in the future if you have a relative who has (or had) oral cancer. In some cases, oral cancer risk is due to inherited mutated genes that can be passed by a parent to his or her offspring.

Sun Exposure

Health authorities say that cancer of the lip, which falls under oral cancer, is commonly seen in individuals who spend a great deal of their time under the blistering sun for work or pleasure.

Cigarette Smoking

There are so many health nightmares that can stem from cigarette smoking, and oral cancer is one of those. Doctors confirm that around 80 percent of all people who are diagnosed with oral cancer smoke cigarettes or use tobacco in all kinds of ways.

Betel Quid Chewing

In various parts of the planet such as South and Southeast Asia, a lot of people chew betel quid, which is lime and areca nut wrapped in the leaves of the betel plant. Unfortunately, experts say that such can considerably increase oral cancer risk. The same can be said for people who chew gutka, which is a combination of tobacco and betel quid.

Alcohol Intake

Those who drink a lot of alcohol are at higher risk of suffering from oral cancer than those who drink moderately. Your chance of having oral cancer is higher if you drink excessively and also smoke cigarettes.

Some other risk factors for oral cancer exist, and they include having a weakened immune system and HPV. Some experts believe that the use of mouthwash and irritation due to dentures may also increase oral cancer risk, although more studies need to be done.

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