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Lip Cancer: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

27 August, 2020 Atheeva Santosh

Lip cancer is one form of head and neck cancer or oral cancer. Most of the lip cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that begin in the thin, flat cells in the middle and outer layers of the skin which is called squamous cells. Lip cancer develops from these abnormal cells that grow out of control forming tumors or lesions on the lips. These are highly durable and can be diagnosed soon as any symptoms on the lips never go unnoticed. Usually, dentists notice it during a regular check-up.

What Causes Lip Cancer?

There is no specific cause of lip cancer. Some of the factors that increase the risk of developing lip cancer are:

  • Excessive and prolonged sun exposure especially who spent long hours working outside
  • Smoking or using tobacco products like cigars, pipes or chewing tobacco
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Having a light-colored skin
  • Being male
  • Exposure to toxins as part of the occupation
  • HPV- Human papillomavirus infection
  • The oral sex that may spread HPV infection to the mouth
  • Age above 40 years

Symptoms Of Lip Cancer

Symptoms of lip cancer commonly involve the lips but it can spread to other areas if it is left unchecked. Therefore 3MEDS – cancer medicines provider in India brings to you the symptoms of lip cancer in earlier and later stages.

Common symptoms of lip cancer are:

  • Bleeding of lips
  • Discoloration in an area of the lip
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Sores on lips that does not heal
  • Visible lumps that can also be felt
  • Swelling in mouth or jaws
  • Thickening of an area of the lips

If the signs and symptoms are left unchecked or not treated soon, there might be other symptoms that indicate a serious condition. Seek immediate medical help if at all you see these symptoms

  • Becoming unconscious or partially conscious
  • Excessive bleeding of lips
  • High fever – higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fatigue and being lethargic
  • Rapid heartbeat or increased pulse rate

Lip Cancer Survival Rate

Fortunately, lip cancers are one of the most curable head and neck cancer. The survival rate of lips cancers is almost 98% and this is mainly because lips are prominent areas that enable early detection of lesions or tumors. If the symptoms on lips are unchecked or untreated, being mistaken about the symptoms to be due to some other illness; then the chances of spreading cancer to other areas like mouth, tongue, throat, and further are higher. This might make conditions severe.

How Is Lip Cancer Diagnosed?

Physical exam – Lips are physically examined by a doctor along with mouth and throat to check for symptoms of cancer.

Testing of sample tissue – A biopsy is conducted where the doctor will remove a small sample of tissue for laboratory testing. This helps the doctor to determine whether there are cancerous cells present and their aggressiveness so far.

Imaging test – This test is conducted to determine whether cancer has spread to other areas or not. It consists of computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET).

Lip Cancer Treatment

Surgery

Lip cancer is removed through a surgery along with the removal of a margin of healthy tissue that surrounds it. The surgeon repairs the lips to allow eating, drinking, and speaking. Also scarring is reduced through other techniques. For small lip cancers, the repairing part could be conducted by a surgeon itself. But in large lip cancers, skilled plastic reconstructive surgeons may be needed to repair the lip. Lip cancer surgeries might also involve the removal of cancerous lymph nodes in the neck

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells with powerful energy beams. The radiation is either focused to the lips or the lymph nodes on the neck.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to cure cancer. It might be accompanied by radiation therapy. Check out ANTI CANCER MEDICINE SUPPLIER in Delhi for drug delivery.

Immunotherapy

It is a drug therapy that helps your immune system to fight cancer. In the case of lip cancer, immunotherapy is advised only when it is in an advanced stage where other treatments aren’t an option.

Targeted drug therapy

In targeted drug therapy, drug treatments mainly focus on the weakness present in cancerous cells. By blocking these weaknesses, these drugs can cause the cells to die. It is usually combined with chemotherapy. You can choose to buy medicines online to reduce expenses.

The bottom line

Untreated lip cancer may hinder your speech, appearance, ability to eat, etc. Therefore it is always better to seek medications when you have any sort of symptoms. You can reduce and prevent lip cancer by stopping the use of tobacco which has cancer-causing chemicals. Avoid heavy consumption of alcohol and exposure to the high temperature of sunlight. Use sunscreen while you are outside. Also, it is better to avoid tanning beds as they emit UV rays which increases your risk of lip cancer.