Lip cancer is a malignancy/cancer that affects the skin of the lips. It can develop on either the upper or lower lip, but it is most frequent on the lower lip. As it is a part of the mouth, lip cancer comes under oral cancer.
Most lip cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which means they start in the thin, flat cells called squamous cells in the middle and outer layers of the skin.
As rare cancer, a question arises: How to know if you have lip cancer? To get the answer, let’s talk about the basics of lip cancer.
What is lip cancer?
Lip cancer is caused by abnormal cells that grow out of control on the lips, forming lesions or tumors. It comes under a category of oral cancers that begins in thin squamous cells flat cells that border the:
- Lips, mouth, tongue, cheeks
- Hard and soft palates, sinuses, and throat
- Head and neck malignancies include lip cancer and various types of oral cancer.
Lip cancer can affect anyone, although it is most common in men over 50 who have pale skin. Moreover, people who smoke, consume too much alcohol, or spend too much time in the sun are more prone to disease. Also, hypersensitive people because of an organ transplant are at a higher risk.
Let’s know about the causes of lip cancer.
What can cause lip cancer?
Experts aren’t sure what causes lip cancer, but several factors greatly enhance your disease chances. The following are major risk factors:
- Tobacco consumption. (This includes using snuff and chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.)
- Heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Excessive exposure to the sun.
- Having a fair complexion.
- Being over 40 years old.
- Being a man.
- HPV infection (human papillomavirus virus).
- A compromised immune system.
These are some risk factors that increase your chances of getting lip cancer. If you come under any of these risk factors, make sure you take care of it and stay aware to prevent it.
How to know if I have lip cancer?
Lip cancer often appears as an unhealing mouth sore. This sore may seem crimson in those with light skin. It may seem dark brown or grey on persons with a darker complexion. Lip cancer can manifest itself in various ways, so if you see anything unusual, schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional.
Symptoms and signs
Lip cancer in its early stages can appear as a flat or slightly elevated spot of discoloration.
- A Persistent pain
- Lump, Blister, and Ulcer
- Swollen Jaw
If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor at the earliest. After a confirmed diagnosis, your doctor will help you choose the best lip cancer treatment.
Treatment for lip cancer is determined by the stage of the disease, how far it has progressed (including the size of the tumor), and your overall health. Lip cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, to name a few options. In addition, targeted therapy and experimental treatments, such as immunotherapy and gene therapy, are viable choices.
Surgery is frequently used to remove a small tumor. It entails the removal of all cancerous tissue and the restoration of the lip (cosmetically and functionally).
Radiation and chemotherapy may be used to shrink the tumor before or after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence if the tumor is bigger or at a later stage. Chemotherapy is a type of tr
As a rare disease, everyone should stay aware of lip cancer and its symptoms. If you notice any unusual symptoms on your lips, see a doctor.
After you’ve finished your lip cancer treatment, go to your doctor for regular exams and follow-up visits. Avoiding alcohol, excessive alcohol use, and minimizing exposure to both natural and artificial sunlight, particularly tanning beds, are all ways to prevent lip cancer.
Dentists are often the first to notice signs of lip cancer. As a result, it’s critical to schedule regular dental consultations with a competent dentist, especially if you have a higher chance of developing lip cancer.