There are many different types of cancers. The types that we will be discussing
are caused by the use of smokeless tobacco.
Smokeless tobacco is the cause of many cancer deaths in the United States.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of oral
cancer and accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all malignant tumors of the mouth.
There are other types of lesions but these are uncommon. They account for only a
small amount of the incidence and mortality from oral cancer.
Scientists don't know everything about what causes oral cancer. They also do not
know why some people have a tendency to contract it and others are more resistant.
They have identified many factors that contribute to its development. Poor oral hygiene,
chronic irritation caused by jagged teeth, projecting fillings and ill-fitting dentures are contributing factors.
Leukoplakia is a pre-cancerous mouth condition that can
become malignant. It consists of a painless, white patch of cells that form on the lip, tongue,
or mouth lining.
Leukoplakia is that white patch you feel as a rough spot between your cheek and gum
when you move your tongue over where you place your chew or dip.
Does leukoplakia always turn into cancer? The scientific community says no. No one
can say for sure whether or not a leukoplaktic lesion will turn malignant, but it is known
that smokeless tobacco use causes leukoplakia.
It is also known that no one can predict another's genetics. No one can say how long
an individual can irritate their oral membranes into a leukoplaktic condition before it turns cancerous.
There are reported cases of smokeless tobacco users well into their 80's. These guys
have developed no malignancies.
Then, you have the kid who has been chewing for six months, feels something not quite right, shows it to mom and dad, and winds up in the hospital with less than 5 years to live.
It must be very sad to be told that you only have a few months of painful, disfigured years to live when you
are only 18 or so.
The American Cancer Society has estimated that there were over 29,600 reported cases of oral cancer in 1994.
It has been reported that twice as many men as women will get oral cancer. Men over the
age of 40 will be the hardest hit.
There were over 8,000 deaths in 1994 that were related to oral cancer. What does all of this tell us? Smokeless
Tips To Quit
Many smokeless tobacco users say it is even harder to quit smokeless tobacco than cigarettes. Chewing tobacco and snuff
contain nicotine and are addictive. A recent study showed that nicotine in the blood stream was actually twice as great for
smokeless' tobacco as for cigarettes. Trying to quit can be difficult, but not impossible. Here are some tips to spit it out
and keep it out!
- Think of reasons why you want to quit. You may want to quit because:
- The people around you find it offensive.
- You don't like having bad breath after chewing and dipping.
- You don't want stained teeth.
- You don't want to risk getting cancer.
- You don't like being addicted to nicotine.
- You want to start leading a healthier life.
- Pick a quit date and throw out all your chewing tobacco and snuff.
- Ask your friends, family, teachers, and coaches to help you kick the habit by giving you support and encouragement. Tell
friends not to offer you smokeless tobacco. You may want to ask a friend to quit with you.
- Ask your doctor about a nicotine chewing gum tobacco cessation program.
- Find alternatives to smokeless tobacco.
- A few good examples are sugarless gum, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, apple slices, or raisins.
- Find activities to keep your mind off of smokeless tobacco.
- You could ride a bike, talk or write a letter to a friend, work on a hobby, or listen to music. Exercise can help relieve
tension caused by quitting.
- Remember that everyone is different, so develop a personalized plan that works best for you. Set realistic goals and achieve
- Reward yourself. You could save the money that would have been spent on smokeless tobacco products and buy something nice
WHAT IS OTOLARYNGOLOGY-HEAD AND NECK SURGERY?
Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery is a specialty concerned with medical treatment and surgery of the ear, nose, throat
and related structures of the head and neck. The specialty encompasses cosmetic facial reconstruction, surgery of benign and
malignant tumors of the head and neck, management of patients with loss of hearing and balance, endoscopic examination of
air and food passages and treatment of allergic, sinus, laryngeal, thyroid and esophageal disorders.
To qualify for the American Board of Otolaryngology certification examination, a physician must complete five or more years
of post-M.D. (or D.O.) specialty training.
©1988. This leaflet is published as a public service. The material may be freely used so long as attribution
is given to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc., Alexandria, VA