Lip Cancer - Definition, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Malignant Tumor of  Lips

Lip Cancer - Definition, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Basal cell cancer (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most common in the lips. 95% of tumors in the lower lip are well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell cancer is mostly seen in the upper lip.

Most lip cancers are visible at an early stage and can be easily detected and treated. Because they are easily noticed by patients, they are often successfully treated at an early stage. In addition to the risk factors in other head and neck cancers, UV rays found in sunlight are also blamed in lower lip cancers.

Symptoms of Lip Cancer

Symptoms of Lip Cancer
There may be no symptoms in early lip cancers.

When symptoms occur, the most common finding is a wound on the lip that does not heal. In most lip cancers, it occurs on the lower lip and may take a disc-like lower lip that may cover the lip.

Although the symptoms of lip cancer usually consist of visible changes on the lips; Lip cancers can spread to the mouth, neck and other parts of the body, causing symptoms in these areas.

Lip cancer symptoms include:

- The emergence of a bleeding area on the lip

- Permanent discoloration in an area on the lips

- Enlarged lymph nodes

- Lip sore not heal

- Lip lump

- Numbness, tingling or lip pain

- Swelling in the chin or mouth

For the lower lip cancer image, you can click on the Lower Lip Cancer link. 

Risk Factors For Lip Cancer

Risk Factors for Lip Cancer
Risk factors that can lead to the occurrence of lip cancers:

Smoking and alcohol consumption

Like all head and neck cancers, smoking and alcohol use synergistically increases the risk of lip cancer compared to non-smokers.

- Suppression of the immune system (immunosuppression)

The risk of lip cancer increases in the case of using drugs that suppress the immune system due to organ transplantation and also in the case of HIV infection affecting the immune system.

- Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a vaccine available for this viral infection, which can also be transmitted sexually.

- Exposure to UV rays

Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of lip cancer. It is emphasized that the lower lip cancer incidence compared to the upper lip may be related to the lower lip being exposed to the sun more.

Being over the age of 40

Lip cancers are more common in light-skinned men over the age of 40.

- Male gender

The risk of lip cancer in men is 3-13 times higher. The reason for this can be explained by the fact that exposure to the sun is more, and smoking and alcohol use is more.

Lip Cancer Treatment

Since lip cancers are usually detected at an early stage, surgical treatment results in high success. However, the risk of local and distant spread increases in large or recurrent cancers (possibly as a result of inadequate initial treatment).


The most commonly used methods in the treatment of lip cancer are surgery, radiation therapy and cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen). The recurrence rate after treatment can vary from 5-35%, and the 5-year survival rate decreases, especially in cancers that have spread to large lymph nodes. After the surgical treatment of these cancers, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be used together.

Depending on the spread of the disease, one or more of the following treatments may be used:

- Surgery

Treatment in lip cancers is resection leaving a 2 cm solid surgical margin and cleaning the lymph nodes where the tumor is likely to spread. While local excision is sufficient in basal cell carcinoma, which is other lip cancers, surgery for the neck and under the chin is also planned in squamous cell cancers.

- Chemotherapy

Usually Cisplatin (Platinol), chemotherapy treatment alone or in combination with other drugs is administered.

- Radiotherapy treatment

- "Targeted therapy" using antibodies directed against cancer cells

Some people with lip cancer may attend clinics where promising new treatments and treatments are studied.

- Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)

Precautions For Lip Cancer

In fact, there is controversy about using UV protective moisturizers (lip sticks) to reduce the likelihood of lip cancer. UV protective moisturizers can be effective by reducing UV exposure, however; From a practical point of view, the fact that the level of protection almost always found on the package is actually lower and their frequent application is two reasons that weaken their effects. This precaution may be particularly suitable for those who work in the open field for professional reasons.

Avoiding smoking and alcohol use seems to be the most serious measure.

It has been reported that vaccination of HPV virus may be protective for head and neck cancers in general.

The consumption of red antioxidant fruits and vegetables in their season, natural diet, and a Mediterranean diet are a general precaution for cancer.

I would like to add some information that I added to my previous cancer related pages. This page has been written for informational purposes only. My mom and dad died of cancer, and I'm doing cancer surgery as little as possible. May God help all cancer patients and desperate people.

You can find information about lip cancer symptoms, risk factors, treatment, treatment success at the links >> Lip cancer: What it looks like and what to do / Oral cavity and lip cancer: United Kingdom National ... / Visual Guide to Oral Cancer - WebMD / Lip Cancer - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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