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Four signs you could have early stage oral cancer, even if you've never smoked a day in your life…

by , 18 March 2013

Michael Douglas' throat cancer shocked the world, despite the fact that he was a smoker. But now, non-smokers are at risk of throat cancer too, as HPV's been linked to oral cancer. It's the perfect time to make sure you don't already have the warning signs of oral cancer. Because we're just two weeks away from April, which is being dubbed as Oral Cancer Awareness Month by the Oral Cancer Foundation for the 14th time this year. So act now to beat the pack by looking out for these four warning signs of early stage oral cancer - especially if they last for more than two weeks…

Smoking has always been a leading cause of oral cancer in older men.
Now, oral cancer is on the rise in young non-smokers, thanks to a new form that’s linked to the human papilloma virus or HPV. 
And no matter which treatment option is followed, early detection plays the biggest role in ensuring your survival, says The HeraldOnline.
But the reason oral cancer’s often diagnosed so late is that there’s no obvious pain or warning symptom to look out for.
That’s why the Oral Cancer Foundation is urging dentists to look for signs of oral cancer this April across the US and Canada. 
You can do your bit by looking out for some of the risk factors and warning symptoms yourself.
Oral cancer affects the cheek, lip, tongue, sinuses, pharynx, floor of the mouth, says eHow, so look out for anything out of the ordinary in these areas.
Four tell-tale signs of oral cancer to watch out for…
1. If you notice a white or red patch in your mouth or a sore that won’t heal after 14 days, get it checked out, says Huliq.
2. Sore throat or ear pain or both that lasts for two weeks or more is another early warning sign.
3. A sudden lump in your neck, which is a sign that the cancer is spreading to the lymph nodes in the neck.
4. A change in voice quality or hoarseness that lasts for more than a week, as this could be a sign of cancer tumours in or your vocal cord area.
Prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to oral cancer!
There are three basic tenets of healthy living that’ll help you prevent cancer – or at least notice something’s wrong and have it diagnosed early.
You need to eat right, quit smoking and get checked out if you find a strange growth anywhere on your body, explains FSP Health
And as more cases of oral cancer are being linked to HPV, which is sexually transmitted, also make sure you always practice safe sex.
It’s a good idea to go for the HPV vaccine, as preventing HPV will in turn prevent the form of oral cancer that develops from it, says Huliq.
If you aren’t already putting these elements of a healthy lifestyle into place, do so ahead of oral cancer awareness month – you’ll be more likely to notice the warning signs of oral cancer and have it treated sooner rather than later. 

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