Smoking and Oral Cancer
According to John Hopkins Medicine, smokers have ten times the risk of getting oral cancers than nonsmokers have. Quitting is the best way to ensure you stay oral cancer-free. Smoking Cessation – A Report of the Attorney General says there is sufficient evidence showing that, after quitting smoking for 5-10 years, your chances of getting cancer in your mouth, throat, or voicebox decreases by half.
However, quitting does not rid your chances of getting oral cancers completely. Be sure to continue seeing your dental professional for regular checkups and cancer screenings – especially if you have any sores or lumps that may indicate a malignant condition. When diagnosed early, oral cancer can be significantly more treatable.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abnormal lumps or bumps
- White or reddish discoloration
- Pain in your mouth or ears
- Sores on your lips or mouth that won't heal
- Any loosening of your teeth
Treatment for oral cancers can include one or a combination of the following treatments:
- Surgical operations can cut out cancer from the infected area.
- Radiation Therapy
- Radiation therapy sends high beams of energy to kill cancer cells.
- Chemical drug treatments can kill cancer cells.
- Targeted Drug Therapy
- Targets the genes and proteins that help your cancer cells grow.
- Immunotherapy can amplify or suppress your immune system's natural responses as needed.
Quitting smoking can be challenging. But when you consider that the alternative isn't just bad oral hygiene but potentially life-threatening conditions as well – the effort will be well worth your while. If you've already quit, we commend you. Sincerely. Now, by practicing good oral hygiene, and with the help of dental professionals, you can make the adverse effects of tobacco products a thing that disappears into the past like a puff of smoke.