It is a widespread belief that chewing tobacco is directly related to oral cancer. We certainly cannot disregard this belief. In fact, this belief is more of a theory. Chewing tobacco does lead to oral cancer. However, you may ask whether it is the only cause behind the disease. The answer is no! There are several other causes behind it. To properly understand why oral cancer can be caused by numerous stimulants, it is important to understand how cancer occurs in the first place.
When cells undergo changes (mutations) in their DNA, it leads to cancer. The DNA of the cells act as guiding mechanisms for functionality of the cells. Upon these mutations, the DNA simply lets the cells to go on dividing and growing upon the death of healthy cells. This irrational growth of cells leads to tumors, which further spreads the cancer. There is no adequate treatment even in modern medical science that would normalize mutated
With that being said, do you now think that chewing tobacco could be the only reason behind the mutation in the DNA cells in your mouth? As frightening as it may sound, don’t you think you can develop oral cancer even if you have never had a habit of chewing tobacco? Following are few of the main reasons why we may develop oral cancer.
Smoking and drinking
Tobacco and alcohol are both known to have carcinogenic chemicals. These carcinogenic chemicals are responsible for damaging DNA in cells, and hence, lead to cancer. Therefore, consuming alcohol or smoking increases the chances of cancer cells developing in the mouth. As a matter of fact, smoking and drinking are known to be the leading causes of cancer all around the world.
Chewing betel nuts
Chewing betel nuts is a practice that is widely common, mainly in the South-Asian countries. Betel nuts too, are known to have carcinogenic effects, as per the NHS, UK. Therefore, these too stand a chance at increasing the risk of oral cancer.
An unhealthy diet
According to the NHS, UK, there is evidence to suggest that an unhealthy diet can lead to oral cancer. An explanation on how an unhealthy diet is related to oral cancer has not yet been found by medical researchers, but the evidence that has been gathered, is strong. Living on a diet that is adequately inclusive of fruits and vegetables is expected to reduce the chances of developing oral cancer (NHS, 2000).
Excess exposure to sunlight
Excess exposure to sunlight directly implies excess exposure to UV rays of the sun. These UV rays are known to damage cells. Exposing your lips to the sunlight for too long on a regular basis, is thus, dangerous. As you might understand already, the UV rays may damage the DNA in the cells of your lips, and thereby, cause oral cancer.
Human Paipilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus group that is known to severely affect skin cells. They mainly affect the throat, anus, mouth and cervix. These viruses can be sexually transmitted to you, but evidence suggests that even physical touch is enough for you to acquire them. Certain kinds of HPV are known to trigger abnormal tissue growth inside the mouth, thus, leading to oral cancer.
As you may have already learned from the article, chewing tobacco is not the only habit that you should stay away from. There are numerous other ways in which one can develop oral cancer. While some stimulants like UV rays and HPV may not be under your control, doctors believe that keeping a healthy dental hygiene significantly reduces your chances of developing oral cancer.