Oral cancer can attack the tongue, lips, gums, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, to the throat. The cause of oral cancer is thought to be related to heredity, smoking habits, as well asviral infection.
Based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are about 650,000 cases of oral cancer found every year, and more than half of them lead to death from this disease.
Most oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which tend to spread quickly. However, often people with oral cancer do not feel symptoms, so this condition is usually only detected when it has entered an advanced stage.
When it has entered a more advanced stage, oral cancer can show symptoms in the form of canker sores, red or white patches in the mouth that do not improve in more than 2 weeks, growing lumps in the mouth, numbness or pain in the mouth, and difficulty breathing. swallow or speak.
Causes and Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is formed when cells in the mouth, including the tongue, gums, and lips, undergo genetic changes (mutations). These changes make cells continue to grow and multiply until they form cancer.
It is not clear what causes the cells in the mouth to mutate, but it is known that there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing oral cancer. One of them is if there is a biological family who has had cancer.
In addition to a family history of cancer, this disease is also more at risk for people who have the following risk factors:
Tobacco is the biggest risk factor for oral cancer. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipe cigarettes (cangklong), or chewing tobacco can increase the chance of developing oral cancer between 50-85%. In addition to people who actively smoke, the risk of oral cancer can also be experienced by passive smokers.
2. Frequent consumption of alcoholic beverages
People who drink alcohol often have an increased risk of developing mouth and throat cancer by up to six times compared to people who lead a healthy lifestyle. The risk will be much higher if coupled with smoking habits.
This is presumably because these two bad habits can damage the cells in the mouth, resulting in changes in genetic traits that make them malignant.
3. Frequent exposure to sunlight
Excessive exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) radiation is thought to be the cause of oral cancer in the lip area. This is more at risk for people who are active in the hot sun.
4. Teriinfection Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Certain types of HPV, especially the HPV type 16 virus, can cause abnormal tissue growth in the mouth. This can increase the risk of oral cancer. You can become infected with HPV during sexual activity, including oral sex, with a person who has HPV.
In addition to oral cancer, the HPV virus can also cause several other diseases, such as genital warts and cervical cancer.
5. Lack of oral hygiene
Poor oral and dental health also plays a role in causing oral cancer. This is thought to be related to wounds and chronic inflammation of the mouth due to poor oral hygiene, so that the cells in the oral cavity are damaged.
This is supported by a study which shows that people who rarely brush their teeth, do not regularly go to the dentist for dental and oral health checks, use dentures, have broken or damaged teeth that are not treated, and often have gingivitis are more at risk for developing gum disease. oral cancer.
6. Have pbad eating habits
There are studies that reveal that unhealthy eating patterns, such as rarely eating fruits and vegetables, are thought to increase the risk of developing oral cancer. This risk can be reduced by adopting a healthy, balanced diet.
7. Suffering from certain diseases
Several conditions, such as leukoplakia, erythroplakia (the appearance of red patches in the mouth), and salivary gland tumors, are thought to increase the risk of oral cancer. In addition, HIV infection and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) can also cause cells in the mouth to change into malignant cells.
In order not to get oral cancer, avoid some of the risk factors, namely by quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, avoiding risky sex behaviors, getting HPV vaccinations, and regularly checking your teeth and mouth to the dentist.
In addition, don't forget to routinely perform oral self-examinations at home. The trick is to look at the oral cavity using a mirror and see if there are lumps, patches or canker sores, as well as long-healing sores on the tongue, lips, palate, and oral cavity.