Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oral Cancer Can Be Prevented

Do you have a sore on your lip that does not heal? It could be a sign of oral cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are around 29,000 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed every year in the United States. There are an average of 600 new cases expected in Maryland this year.

But most oral cancer is preventable. Ninety percent of oral cancer use tobacco, making it the No. 1 risk factor. Those over 40 years old are more likely to have oral cancer, and it is twice as common in men as women. Other risk factors include alcohol use, prolonged sun exposure and having HPV (human papillomavirus).

Like other cancers, oral cancer is more likely to be cured if it is caught early. By limiting alcohol consumption, using a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15, and eating a healthy diet are among the ways to reduce your chances of contacting oral cancer.

And of course, stop smoking. The Maryland Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) offers free telephone-based counseling, support and tips to help you quit. The Baltimore City Health Department also offers smoking cessation.

Free smoking cessation programs, some of which are held at Northwest Hospital, are available to Baltimore County residents or individuals that work or attend school in Baltimore County over 18 years of age.
Call the Baltimore County Tobacco Resource Line at 1-888-887-0123 to learn more.

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