It is estimated that, each year, more than 50,000 people will develop some form of cancer in and around the mouth, tongue, nose and sinuses. With many of these cases of new cancer found in men, there is a growing consumer advocacy to reach out to high risk groups in an effort to prevent these forms of cancer as well as encourage early diagnosis and screening.
Of the many causes of mouth, tongue and throat cancer, tobacco continues to be a leading cause. While many individuals associate lung cancer to the use of tobacco, it is important to understand that any form of cancer, in and around the mouth and throat, can also develop from the use of tobacco.
In addition to tobacco use, individuals who consume large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis, generally more than five, suffer a greater risk for developing throat and mouth cancer. In fact, research has shown that nearly 80 percent of the individuals who suffer from cancers of the mouth, specifically the tonsils and tongue, were heavy daily consumers of alcohol.
So, how do you know if you are at risk for mouth or throat cancer? The most common symptoms of mouth and throat cancer, in the tobacco consumer and alcohol consumer, involve a progressive onset of hoarseness with some progressive difficulty in breathing, complaints of sore throat and lesions in and around the mouth, difficulty swallowing, earache and loss of hearing, and even the onset of frequent nosebleeds.
While many forms of throat and mouth cancer can be treated, the degree to which treatment and remission are possible will depend on early diagnosis and intervention. Surgery, chemotherapy and even radiation therapy are common forms of treatment with many patients suffering life long complications involving loss of speech, hearing and impaired feeding ability.
Following treatment of mouth and throat cancer, the patient will usually require visits, quarterly, for up to five years. If the cancer is in remission beyond five years, the condition is considered healed. However, with the residual impact of the affect on the mouth, tongue, ears and throat, many cancer patients find that, even when the cancer is in remission, their lives will not be the same.
In an effort to reduce the risk for developing these life altering forms of mouth and throat cancer, consumer advocacy agencies, across the country, are reaching out to all members of society but especially in the teenage, college and young adult population. Understanding the risks of regular tobacco use, coupled with consistent and daily alcohol use, can lead to a variety of health complications, including the development of mouth and throat cancer, may lead to a reduction in the number of cancerous cases, especially among men, in the United States.