Oral Cancer in Men – the Facts
During Men's Health Week (June 10-16) we want to have a frank discussion. Are you aware that oral cancer strikes men more often than women?
In fact, men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer as women, and men over age 50 face the greatest risk, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s estimated that more than 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Experts say men are more likely to get oral cancer because they engage in more activities that put them at a higher risk. The risk factors include:
•Smoking Cigarette, cigar, or pipe smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop oral cancers.
• Smokeless tobacco use–users of dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco products are 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
• Excessive consumption of alcohol–heavy drinkers are about six times more likely to have oral cancer rather than nondrinkers.
• Family history of cancer.
• Excessive sun exposure, especially at a young age.
So men, take time to learn more about oral cancer and its symptoms:
• Swelling, thickening lumps or bumps or rough spots on the lips, gums, and other areas inside the mouth.
• The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.
• Persistent sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks.
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice.
• Ear pain.
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together.
• Dramatic weight loss.
If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or health care professional.