Oral Cancer Video

Transcript: Oral Cancer

Health Canada TV presents

Good Oral Health: It will make your whole body smile!

Module 3: Prevention of Oral Cancer

It is estimated that 3,400 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in Canada annually, and that more than a thousand people will die from oral cancer.

The number of new cases and deaths due to oral cancer is higher than cervical or liver cancer.

The 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 63%, lower than the rates for prostate, melanoma or cervical cancers.

There are many factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. You are at greater risk if:

  • You are over the age of 40.
  • You are male. Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer, even though this gap is narrowing.
  • You have Human Papilloma virus.
  • HPV is a virus that infects the skin and mucous membranes of humans and is transmitted by sexual contact.
  • You use tobacco products, especially if combined with high alcohol consumption.
  • You regularly drink a lot of alcohol.
  • Your lips are exposed to the sun on a regular basis.
  • Your diet is low in fruits and vegetables - robbing you of important protective factors.

So what is oral cancer?

Oral cancer starts in the cells of the mouth or oral cavity - which is made up of many parts:

  • lips
  • tongue
  • inside of the lips and cheeks
  • hard palate (roof of the mouth)
  • floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
  • gums and teeth

The lining of the mouth protects the tissues and organs that make up the oral cavity. It's exposed to everything you eat, drink and breathe. As part of your regular oral health regime, check the inside of your mouth for these signs and symptoms:

  • sores that do not heal within 2 weeks
  • dark red or white patches
  • lumps located on the lips, tongue, throat, cheek or neck
  • bleeding
  • sore throat and difficulty with swallowing

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms in your mouth, ask for an oral cancer screening at your dental or medical clinic. Early detection of oral cancer can greatly increase the success of treatment and reduce the likelihood that the cancer would spread to other parts of the body.

More importantly, oral cancer is a preventable disease. Make a commitment to reduce your risk today:

  • Quit smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Use a condom to reduce your risk of HPV infection.
  • Use UV protection on your lips when you're outside and exposed to the sun.
  • Eat a healthy diet according to Canada's Food Guide
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily to reduce oral infections.

For more information about oral cancer and oral health visit our website at www.canada.ca/en/public-health/topics/oral-health

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