St. Lucie Medical Center
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For more than 25 years, St. Lucie Medical Center has continued to grow and provide world-class care to the residents of Port St. Lucie.

Guidelines for preventing oral cancer

Cancers of the lips, tongue, hard palate, cheeks and floor of the mouth are all types of oral cancer. It’s often thought that oral cancers are easy for patients to detect, but actually, they are frequently not diagnosed until the cancer has already spread to other areas. Late detection worsens the anticipated outcome. At St. Lucie Medical Center, we encourage our neighbors throughout Treasure Coast to become empowered patients. Knowing the risks and taking small steps to improve health can make a big difference.

Quit smoking

Smoking substantially increases the risk of oral cancers. Doctors prefer that their patients never pick up the habit at all, but even if you do smoke, it is never too late to quit. Quitting smoking will protect your health and quality of life, even if you’ve smoked for many years. It’s never easy to overcome an addiction, but your doctor genuinely cares about helping you meet your health goals. Your doctor can offer personalized guidance to help you quit smoking.

Avoid alcohol

Heavy drinking is another major risk factor of oral cancers. If you drink, consider asking your doctor if the amount of alcohol you consume could be risky. Physicians usually recommend limits of one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men, although abstaining is advisable.

Use sunscreen

Sunscreen doesn’t just protect you from skin cancer. It also reduces the risk of lip cancer. Before leaving home each day, apply lip balm that has built-in sunscreen. Reapply it periodically throughout the day. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat while outdoors is also a smart idea.

Get dental care

During your routine six-month dental check-up, your dentist will examine your mouth and lips for signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings also allow your dentist to check for pre-cancerous conditions. These are problems that could turn into oral cancer if left untreated. Your dentist can help you prevent oral cancer by treating these pre-cancerous areas, which are called leukoplakia or erythroplakia.

Get vaccinated

You might recognize the human papilloma virus (HPV) for its role in increasing the risk of cervical cancer. This common infection is also thought to increase the likelihood of oral cancers. Consider asking your doctor if the HPV vaccine is right for you.

St. Lucie Medical Center is a trusted source of preventive healthcare. Our specialists and nurses provide a continuum of quality care—from diagnostic imaging to surgical services in our modern facility in Treasure Coast. Speak with a caring nurse by calling 1.800.382.3522.

Categories: Prevention, Oral Cancer

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