As mentioned earlier, you get mouth cancer when the DNA of individual cells in your mouth, throat, and neck mutate and become warped. It produces dysfunctional and harmful cells, which have excellent survival prospects and consume resources faster than functional cells. Therefore, these unhealthy cells dominate and tend to clump into clusters known as malignant tumours.
In spite of the entire medical research currently available, and in spite of new developments in mouth cancer knowledge, doctors and medical researchers are still ‘in the dark’ regarding the exact causes of mouth cancer.
Risk Factors for Mouth Cancer
You can easily be infected by mouth cancer than the general population if any of the following apply to you:
- You smoke – smoking even 1-2 cigarettes a day is enough to cause mouth cancer
- You use chewing tobacco or snuff
- You chew supari
- You are an alcoholic or a heavy drinker
- You have HPV – you are especially at risk if you have HPV 16
- You have had a neck and neck cancer
- You remain in the Sun for a longer time or tanning beds – the harmful and radioactive UV rays from sunlight or similar simulated light can cause lip cancer
- You have GERD
- Your head and neck have been subjected to radiation therapy
- You have been around certain toxic chemicals for a long time. These include asbestos, sulfuric acid, and formaldehyde
- You are infected with a mouth sore that doesn’t heal
- You regularly drink hot mate tea
Preventing Mouth Cancer
While no robust solutions are existing, which will prevent you from getting mouth cancer, you can substantially reduce your risk by not engaging in any of the risk factors mentioned above. Since HPV can cause mouth cancer, adolescent boys and girls are encouraged to get at least two doses of the HPV vaccine. This will significantly reduce their chances of getting mouth cancer.