April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and we want to help spread the prevention message. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer in 2012. The most common risk factors include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and HPV infection.
But there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. AICR experts estimate that if Americans followed these three recommendations we could prevent an impressive sixty-three percent of oral cancers in the US every year. That's over 22,000 cases each year.
Research is clear that tobacco increases risk for cancers of the lung, mouth, lips, nasal cavity and sinuses, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary, and acute myeloid leukemia. Research also shows, when combined with alcohol, tobacco can raise oral cancer risk significantly.
Strong evidence suggests that alcohol increases the risk for oral and throat cancer. If you drink alcohol, AICR recommends limiting your consumption to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women.
The AICR/WCRF expert report found that fruits and vegetables protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx, stomach and esophagus.
Aim for at least 5 servings per day. A cancer-fighting diet should also include whole grains and legumes, which contain fiber and other important phytochemicals.
For more information on Oral and Esophageal Cancers check out AICR's brochure: Reducing Your Risk of Oral and Esophageal Cancers.