Lip cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that develops from abnormal cells to form lesions or tumors on the lips. Some studies show that lip cancer is linked to the use of tobacco and heavy alcohol. People working outdoors are also more likely to have lip cancer.
As the lips are prominent and visible, lesions can be seen and felt easily. This allows for early diagnosis. Hence, the chance of survival after treatment is greater than 90%. This article will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of lip cancer.
As early diagnosis is important, consult your ENT doctor as soon as possible if you have signs or symptoms. The doctor will perform a physical examination of your lips and other parts of your mouth to identify the abnormal areas and possible causes.
Then, the doctor will take a medical history and ask specific questions about your:
If lip cancer is suspected, it requires a biopsy and a small sample of tissue that is removed from a tumor to diagnose cancer. Then, a pathologist will examine the cells under a microscope. If the biopsy results confirm that you have lip cancer, several tests are used to aid in the diagnosis to determine how far the cancer has progressed, or if it’s spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are some of the treatments available for lip cancer. Other possible options include targeted therapy and investigative treatments, such as immunotherapy and gene therapy.
As with other cancers, treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, how far it’s progressed and your general health. If the tumor is small, surgery will be performed to remove it. This involves removal of all tissue involved with the cancer, plus reconstruction of the lip (cosmetically and functionally).
If the tumor is larger or at a later stage, radiation and chemotherapy may be used to shrink the tumor before or after surgery to lower the risk of recurrence. Chemotherapy treatments deliver drugs throughout the body and reduce the risk of the cancer spreading or returning.
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