We talk a lot about skin cancer these days, but not often in depth needed to make a dent in lowering the number of diagnoses each year. Not yet, anyway. As time progresses, it is expected that 1 in 5 people will be touched by some form of skin cancer. The more we gain awareness about prevention and early treatment, the better we will fare in the future. One little tidbit of awareness that has yet to catch on in the larger scale of the population: protecting the lips with SPF lip balm.
Of the numerous new cancer diagnoses that are confirmed each year, .6 percent exist on the lip. This isn’t just skin cancer diagnoses, but all forms of cancer. According to studies, most lip cancers are categorized as squamous cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer is not necessarily as serious as melanoma skin cancer. However, the 35% chance of recurrence does make us sit up and take note. Squamous cell carcinomas can spread, and they can affect the lymph nodes, which presents a very real mortality risk. This detail shows us that squamous cell carcinomas of the lip do need prompt and appropriate attention.
Signs of Skin Cancer
The more we know, the better we can take care of ourselves. In addition to checking the nose, ears, and other parts of the body for signs of skin cancer, we should also look for signs of the lip and oral cancer, such as:
- Thickened tissue inside the cheek.
- Oral pain or lip pain that persists for more than a week or two.
- An oral lesion or sore that persists or recurs.
- White or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips.
- Persistent feeling of “something in the throat” or a sore throat.
Having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean oral or lip cancer. However, it indicates the need for a thorough consultation and examination with your dermatologist.
Lip Cancer Treatment
Skin cancer is considered high-risk by the Skin Cancer Foundation. It is not only highly visible but has the potential to spread. Treatment for skin cancer on the lip aims to remove diseased cells efficiently to improve prognosis as well as cosmetic appearance. With this in mind, we may recommend Mohs skin cancer surgery for lip cancer. This procedure follows a step-by-step protocol that decreases recurrence while preserving the greatest extent of healthy tissue.
Learn more about Mohs skin cancer surgery for lip and other skin cancers. Call or NYC office at (212) 391-8600.