Are you at risk for oral cancer? While oral cancer can affect all types of people, certain factors can predispose individuals to this disease. If you have these risk factors, don’t panic. An oral pathologist can evaluate your mouth, check for irregularities that might indicate cancer, and regularly evaluate you so abnormalities can be caught early.
General Risk Factors
A person’s risk of developing cancer increases as they age. For oral cancer, the average age of diagnosis is 62, and the majority of patients diagnosed are 55 or older. However, oral cancer can still affect younger people. Men are more likely to get oral cancer than women, though some scientists believe this is because men are more likely to smoke and/or consume excess alcohol than women.
If you have a family history of oral cancer, talk to a professional. This can increase your risk of developing the disease. People who have a suppressed immune system (either due to the intake of immunosuppressant drugs or because of an illness) are also at an increased risk. HPV infections of the mouth are another risk factor.
Lifestyle factors are often a person’s first indication that they may be at risk for oral cancer. Tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers are the most at risk. People who smoke (or who smoked in the past) and people who heavily drink alcohol are especially encouraged to meet with an oral pathologist. Other lifestyle factors, such as poor diet and prolonged UV light exposure, could also put you at risk.
Don’t put off a cancer screening. Call 281-667-0607 to schedule an oral pathology appointment today.