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Lip Cancer – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


What is Lip Cancer?

Lip cancer is a form of oral cancer in which a malignant tumor grows due to autonomous growth of cell in the lips. It mostly occurs in the lower lip and is often squamous cell cancer. Oral cancer is part of the neck and head cancers.

Lip Cancer Symptoms

Lesion or ulcer on the lips is the most common symptom of lip cancer. The lesion may grow outside the lip or in the inner fold of the lip and it may sometimes be painful or may bleed.

Symptom of lip cancer varies depending on the stage and extent of the cancer and this may include:

  • Lesion develops gradually which does not heal.
  • Lump is formed on the lip which is discolored in characteristic.
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing.
  • Onset of sore throat which does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness of the mouth
  • Jaw swelling
  • White patch or red path on the lining of the mouth
  • Palpable lump in the neck
  • Denture suddenly not fit
  • Ear pain or earache
  • Teeth are loose
  • Difficulty in speech
  • Sudden weight loss

Lip Cancer Causes

Lip cancer is commonly caused by squamous cell where the neoplasm often occurs in the lower lip. However, the occurrence of lip cancer is unknown.

There are other factors which may increase the risk of lip carcinoma and these include:

Cigarette smoking and tobacco

Mucus membrane irritation is the result of exposure to heat and smoke exposure in cigarette or tobacco of an individual. Combustion of carcinogens contained in tobacco is the primary culprit in mucus membrane irritation. Smoking and tobacco accounts for the most number of oral cancer including lip cancer. Higher risks for lip cancer are those heavy smoker or tobacco users.

Alcohol and other toxic liquid

People who consume alcohol heavily are at higher risk for oral cancer including that of lip cancer. The end product or by product of alcohol called acetaldehyde is implicated for the cause of lip cancer.

Sunlight exposure or UV Rays exposure

Location of the mouth posts a risk for lip cancer due to exposure to environment including that of UV ray exposure as a result of direct exposure to sunlight. Unprotected lips are at risk for this condition. It is recommended to put on protection such as moisture lipstick to protect the lips.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Infection of HPV particularly of type 16 is known to be a causative agent for oral cancer. HPV16 is also the same virus liable for immense number of cervical cancer. HPV is known to infect in keratinocyte of the skin or the mucous membrane.

Other factors are also considered to be the cause of lip cancer and this may include:

  • Weak immune system through immunosuppressant being taken.
  • Improper oral hygiene or poor dental practice.
  • Irritation brought by dentures or fillings.
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation undergone by an individual.

Lip Cancer Treatment

Treatment of lip cancer depends on the severity or the stage of the carcinoma. Treatment also depends on general health of an individual. Surgery is often recommended while cancer is still small and is also done together with radiation therapy.

Treatment and management of lip cancer may include:

Chemotherapy – treatment method for cancer with the use of antineoplastic drug in combination or not of standardized regimen and is often use with surgery.

Radiation therapy – a cancer treatment geared in controlling if not eradicating malignant cells with the use of ionizing radiation.

Surgery – is often recommended when the carcinoma is small enough and is usually done together with radiation therapy. There are different type of surgery intended for the affected area and these may include:

  • Mandibulectomy
  • Glossectomy
  • Maxillectomy

It is necessary to sustain good nutrition of patient with lip cancer but with the condition presented where chewing and swallowing is hindered, feeding tube is necessitated to provide nutrition to the patient.

Rehabilitation – it is necessary after a surgery to restore normal functionality and such therapy recommended includes speech therapy and language therapy.

Reconstructive surgery – may be required right after removal of the carcinoma to restore not only functionality but also to restore the aesthetic aspect affected by the cancer.

Palliative care – it is needed not only to patient with oral cancer but also every patient of every serious condition needs support not only from medical health team but also from the family members to help ease the emotional and practical problem experienced by the patient.

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