Oral cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the oral cavity that leads to the growth of tumor. The oral cavity includes mouth, lips, tongue, throat and teeth. Oral cancer is a form of head and neck type cancer.
An important factor for oral cancer is tobacco products. That can be due to consumption (smoking, chewing or inhalation) of tobacco products. Tobacco products increase the risk of oral cancer. Tobacco products are carcinogenic – they contain chemicals that can damage the DNA in cells in oral cavity, which causes the growth of oral cancer.
The exposure of oral cavity with these carcinogenic chemicals interfere with the normal functioning of cells on mouth and make cells to prone to infections and dental problems.
Tobacco products causes several dental problems like staining on teeth, gum problems, tooth decay and bad breath. It weakens immunity and delays the healing when any injury takes place in oral cavity.
Tobacco smoke includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes. Pipe smoking is a high risk factor for lip cancer as the pipe touches the lip. The risk of oral cancer depends on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day. Second tobacco smoking increases the chances of second time oral cancer. Avoiding of tobacco gradually decreases the chances of oral cancer.
Smokeless tobacco also has the same risk factors of oral cancer as that of tobacco smoking. It contains nicotine. Smokeless tobacco includes sniff or chewing tobacco. It contains 28 chemicals that irritate the cells in oral cavity and increase the risk of oral cancer. Not only does it cause oral cancer but oesophagus, lungs, kidney cancers as well.
Betel nuts are the seeds obtained from the betel palm tree. These are mildly addictive. They create a stimulating effect and increase the risk of oral cancer. The risk of oral cancer is higher in candidates using betel nuts with smoking or chewing tobacco.
80% of the oral cancer patients have habit of using tobacco products. The risk of oral cancer depends on the frequency of using smoking or tobacco products. The risk of oral cancer is more in candidates who use both tobacco and alcohol. The risk of oral cancer is nine times more in candidates who smoke or use tobacco products than candidates with no habit of tobacco usage. Pipe smoking has a high risk of lip cancer as the pipe touches the lip.
Quitting after 10-15 years the risk of oral cancer is same as that of normal candidates who have no habit of tobacco usage. The few the number of years you smoke and quit and the lower is the risk of oral cancer. In addition, quitting tobacco reduces dental problems.