Lip cancer doesn’t get as much attention as other types of oral cancer, but it’s not an uncommon condition. Nearly one in five people will develop skin cancer during their life which includes the lips, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation — so it’s important to be aware of the signs of this condition.
How Skin and Lip Cancer Develop
Exposure to ultraviolet( UV) radiation is a major risk factor for developing skin and lip cancer. Because UV rays mainly come from sunlight, we know that we should apply sunscreen to exposed skin. But don’t forget to protect your lips, too.
Using tobacco and drinking alcohol are also well-known contributors to oral cancer – which also impacts the lips. According to the National Cancer Institute, people who currently smoke are about 10 times more likely to develop oral cancer than nonsmokers. In addition, those who drink three to four alcoholic beverages a day are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than those who do not. Tobacco and consuming alcohol are especially unhealthy if done together; health risks of oral cancer is two to three times greater when combined.
Lip Cancer Warning Signs
Many visible irregularities can signal lip cancer. You may notice a red patch on your lip that becomes crusty, itchy or bleeds. Lumps or wart-like growths on the lips can be a cause for action, as well. You may also notice open sores on your lips, and although these may seem or feel like cold sores, they won’t heal the same way. Keep in mind the warning signs of lip cancer can be present as merely a pale region that looks like a scar- or seem different from these descriptions entirely. If you notice a change in your lips’ appearance, you should always get it examined.
Early Diagnosis Critical
Early diagnosis is very important, as lip cancers are almost always curable when they’re caught early. To this end, you need to check your lips regularly for changes that could be signs of cancer.
It’s also important to visit us at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® for regular hygiene visits which include oral cancer screenings. And, as always, just like you apply sunscreen to skin, you should always apply SPF lip balm to protect your pucker from harmful UV rays.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.