A risk factor is something that aggravates a person’s chance of having an illness. The risk of developing oral cancer enhances with age. But in some times, younger people (less than 55 years) may develop oral cancer. Men are more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
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In this article, we are going to mention some of the risk factors for oral cancer.
- Gender: oral cancer is more common in men rather than women. This is because men are more prone to use alcohol and tobacco. These two are the prime reasons for developing oral cancers among men.
- Age: Oral cancer is more common among people who are above 62 years old. Several medical studies have claimed that two-thirds of individuals with this disease are over age 55. However, younger people (less than 55) may develop oral cancer under certain circumstances.
- Ultraviolet rays: Lip cancers are more common among people who need to work outdoors and visit tanning beds. Lip cancer is common among those who need prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- Poor diet and nutrition: A plethora of medical studies have found a link between oral cancer and diet. A diet that contains low in fruits and vegetables, can enhance the risk of oral cancer.
Some inherited genetic mutations may cause different syndromes in the body. This may carry a higher risk of developing oral cancer. These genetic diseases include,
- Fanconi anaemia is a blood condition caused by inherited abnormalities in numerous genes. Patients who are suffering from this disease may experience symptoms at an early age. They may develop anaemia or aplastic anaemia in the later stage. The risk of developing oral cancer among people with Fanconi anaemia is up to 500 times higher than the normal ones.
- Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is a genetically linked syndrome. This may cause aplastic anaemia, and even carries a high risk of oral cancer at the very beginning of age.
- Tobacco use: Nearly 80 per cent of patients with oral cancers consume tobacco either in the form of cigarettes or chewing tobacco or snuff. The risk of getting oral cancer depends on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Smoking is responsible for cancer in the mouth or throat. On the other hand, other tobacco products mat cause cheeks, gums and lips cancer.
- Alcohol: Alcohol is also responsible for developing oral cancer. Near about 70 per cent of people having oral cancer are heavy drinkers. This risk is much higher for people who use both alcohol and tobacco. For those who drink and smoke, the risk of getting oral cancer may be as high as 100 per cent more than those who never drink and smoke.
- Betel quid: Many people in the world often chew betel quid (a leaf from the betel plant wrapped around areca nut and lime). Chewing gutka along with betel quid and tobacco can enhance the risk of developing oral cancer.
- Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV): HPV is a risk factor for oral cancer. There is a link between oral cancer and HOV. But, HPV infections in the mouth do not produce any symptoms, and only a certain percentage of these infections may turn cancerous.
- Immune system suppression: Taking an immune suppressant drug may enhance the risk of oral cancer.
- Lichen planus: people who are having this disease may develop white lines or spots in the mouth and throat. This may have a higher risk of oral cancer.
These are some risk factors for oral cancer which you should aware of.
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