Cómo prevenir el cáncer oral

El cáncer oral, también conocido como cáncer de la cavidad oral, cáncer orofaríngeo, o cáncer de la boca y la garganta, es dos veces más común en hombres que en mujeres. Este año, aproximadamente 39.400 personas serán diagnosticados con cáncer oral y cerca de 8.000 morirán debido a la enfermedad. Para prevenir la mayoría de los cánceres orales se debe evitar el tabaco, y no beber alcohol en exceso. Sin embargo, una de cada cuatro personas diagnosticadas con cáncer oral no ha tenido factores de riesgo. Por esa razón es importante visitar al odontólogo con regularidad para realizarse un chequeo.

Factores de riesgo

  • Fumar
  • Beber alcohol en exceso
  • Exponerse al sol por largos periodos de tiempo
  • Tener ciero tipo de virus de papiloma humano
  • Tener el sistema inmune debilitado
  • Tener liquen plano, enfermedad de injerto contra huésped (también conocida por las siglas GVHD en inglés) o ciertas condiciones de la sangre heredadas

Prevención y detección temprana

  • No fume
  • Limite el consumo de alcohol
  • Evite exponerse al sol especialmente entre las 10.00 y las 16.00h cuando la luz solar es más fuerte
  • Use siempre protector solar labial con factor de protección superior a 30
  • Consuma frutas y vegetales
  • Revise su boca una vez al mes frente al espejo, si nota algo inusual, acuda a su odontólogo


  • Áreas blanquecinas o enrojecidas en labios, encías, lengua o mucosa
  • Masa palpable en el interior de la boca
  • Dolor o dificultad al masticar, ingerir alimentos o hablar
  • Ronquera que dura por largo tiempo
  • Falta de sensación o constante dolor en cualquier área de la boca
  • Inflamación de la mandíbula
  • Dientes flojos
  • Dificultad usando dentaduras
  • Sangrado en la boca
  • Ulcera persistente en labios o boca
  • Dolor de oído persistente

Ante cualquier duda frente a los síntomas anteriores, acuda a su odontólogo inmediatamente.


El cáncer oral puede ser tratado con cirugía, radiación, quimioterapia y nuevas terapias específicamente dirigidas, combinadas o por separado.

Fuente: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures, 2011

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