Smokeless Tobacco and Oral Cancer
There are 28 known cancer causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco; it is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. According to the CDC, in previous years, Kentucky has been ranked #1 in the highest rates of oral cancer.
- Using smokeless tobacco increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Smokeless tobacco can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
- Also, it can cause white or gray patches in the mouth known as leukoplakia, which can lead to cancer.
The Oral Cancer Foundation states 145 Americans will be newly diagnosed per day with oral cancer. Close to 53,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour.
- The 5-year survival rate for these cancers is about 57 percent.
- Death from oral cancer is nearly twice as high in some minorities.
- Oral cancer can be hard to detect in the early stages often producing no pain or symptoms.
Avoiding high risk behaviors, which includes use of smokeless tobacco, is critical in preventing oral cancers. Protect your health; don’t use tobacco.
Here is a video that shows how to examine your mouth for early signs of mouth cancer.
It is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place.