News that Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas has been diagnosed with throat cancer has led many to wonder about their own risk for this type of cancer. Like many cancers, there are ways for you to drastically reduce your risk of throat and oral cancers:
- Don’t use tobacco in any form. If you smoke, quit immediately. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Quitting smoking can be very difficult, so get some help. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of the many stop-smoking strategies, such as medication, nicotine replacement products and counseling.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. For women, this means one drink a day. For men, moderate drinking means no more than two drinks a day.
- Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of throat cancer. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables daily.
- Get checked. Have an annual oral cancer screening by your dentist or health care professional.
- Use caution around chemicals. When working with chemicals, whether on the job or around your house, carefully follow the directions. Avoid breathing hazardous chemical fumes. Properly ventilate the room where you’re working and wear a mask over your nose and mouth. (Mayo Clinic)
For more information about how to reduce your cancer risk, please visit preventcancer.org.