Lip cancer is a type of cancer that grows on or around the lips. It is also called oral cancer. While there is no known cause or cure for lip cancer, there are treatments. The sooner a person is diagnosed and treated, the better their prognosis.
Lip Cancer Risk Factors
There are specific indicators that put a person at an increased risk for lip cancer. It is important to know if you are at risk for lip or oral cancer so you can receive regular tests and checkups to check for the disease. An early diagnosis can mean a more effective treatment. Some common indicators or lip cancer include:
• Male Gender
• Ultraviolet light
• Fanconi anemia
• Dyskeratosis congenital
• Betel quid
• Immune system suppression
• Lichen planus
Lip Cancer Causes
The exact cause of lip cancer is unknown. Like most cancers, there are risk factors that can increase a person’s chances of getting oral cancer. Other types of cancer can spread to the mouth and cause lip or oral cancer. Lip cancer develops when abnormal cells grow out of control and turn into tumors on the lips. Medical science is currently working to determine a cause of oral or mouth cancer.
Lip Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of lip cancer can vary by individual. Many people ignore the signs at first because they can be confused with other, less-serious problems. Some people do not notice their symptoms or are not bothered by them. The symptoms may appear mild at first, but they can quickly become more severe. Some symptoms of lip cancer include:
- Sores, lesions, and blisters on the lips
- Red or white patches on the lips
- Bleeding lips
- Painful lips
- Swelling in the lips or jaws
Lip Cancer Diagnosis
An early diagnosis is essential for a successful treatment. Lip cancer can spread and worsen quickly. Doctors can diagnose lip cancer with a physical exam. They may choose to do more tests to confirm that the ulcer or lesion on the lips is indeed cancer. Sometimes a doctor may need to perform a biopsy.
Lip Cancer Treatment
Lip cancer is treatable. The type of treatment used often depends on the severity of the cancer. If caught in the early stages, the disease may respond well to treatments. If the cancer isn’t found until the later stages, surgery may be the only option. Doctors may give some patients a choice regarding which treatment they prefer. Some common treatments include:
- Radiation therapy
- Cancer drugs
Lip Cancer Prognosis
The prognosis for lip cancer is good as long as it is diagnosed and treated promptly. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to other areas of the mouth and body and become more severe. Most people who respond well to treatment can recover fully after just a few months. The survival rate without reoccurrence at five years is 90% for healthy patients.
Lip Cancer Complications
If not treated successfully or left untreated, the cancer can spread and cause severe cosmetic and functional issues. In some cases, surgery and treatment can also cause disfigurement. Treatments for lip cancer like radiation and chemotherapy can also have complications such as: