Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Quit using tobacco
Mouth cancers are closely linked to tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others. Not everyone who is diagnosed with mouth cancer uses tobacco. But if you do, now is the time to stop because:
- Tobacco use makes treatment less effective.
- Tobacco use makes it harder for your body to heal after surgery.
- Tobacco use increases your risk of getting another cancer in the future.
Quitting smoking or chewing can be very difficult. And it's that much harder when you're trying to cope with a stressful situation, such as a cancer diagnosis. Your doctor can discuss all of your options, including medications, nicotine replacement products and counseling.
Quit drinking alcohol
Alcohol, particularly when combined with tobacco use, greatly increases the risk of mouth cancer. If you drink alcohol, stop now. This may help reduce your risk of a second cancer. Stopping drinking may also help you better tolerate your mouth cancer treatments.
Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Head and neck cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- What you need to know about oral cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Lip and oral cavity cancer treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/lip-and-oral-cavity/patient. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- The oral cancer exam. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/TheOralCancerExam.htm. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Cancer-related fatigue. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Erbitux (prescribing information). Branchburg, N.J.: Eli Lilly and Company; 2012. http://www.erbitux.com. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.