Is Lip Cancer Common?

Is Lip Cancer Common?

Lip cancer is not uncommon, but it is often overlooked. Its most common malignant cancer of oral cavity. The global Age standardized rate of lip cancer was 0.3/10000 common and 0.4 in men and 0.2 in women. According to the data of GLOBOCAN, globally 19.2% incidence rate of newly diagnosed cases occurred in eastern and Central Europe. Some region which includes eastern/southern Asia and sub Saharan Africa having the lowest incidence rate. In general, 25 to 30% of the oral cavity cancer are lip cancer. According to American cancer Society approximately 26,000 new oral cancers occurs every year in United States, which includes 10 to 15% lip cancer.

Is Lip Cancer Common?

Statistics of Lip Cancer

Lip cancer occurs in around 4000 cases/year of oral cancer. It is the second most common malignant lesion of head and Neck. In the US, cancer of oral cavity and pharynx includes 3% of all the cancers in which, lip cancer includes approximately 0.6%. According to type of Skin cancers, lip cancer also included in most common type of basal and squamous cell carcinoma. High geographic variation is also seen in lip cancer because it is related to one of the causative factor which is Sun exposure.

The incidence is higher in Australia which is 13.5 /100,000 than in US which remains 1.8/100,000 population. In part of Asia there is nonexistence of Lip cancer. Occurrence of lip cancer is more common in patient with outdoor occupation approximately 30% of patients. The lower lip remains 12 times more affected than upper lip cancer due to its greater exposure of sunlight. Medical literature concludes that lower lip squamous cell carcinoma (SSC) is more common in men and upper lip SSC is more common in women. Lip cancer is predominant in male at the ratio of 3 to 1 likely due to more sun exposure along with alcohol and tobacco use.

In North America the male lip cancer rates is 12.7/100,000 per annum, Europe 12.0/100,000 per annum and Oceania it is 13.5/100000 per annum. The male patient with fair complexions and in the 6 the decades of life are more prone to the disease. In recent studies of Germany incidence of lip cancer has been increase in female while its remaining stable in men [In men 2003 (1.6) & 2012 (2.1) and in women 2003 (1.5) to 2012 (2.4)]. Squamous cell type involving vermillion are most commonly seen in lower lip (90%) and basal cell type arising from lip skin are common in upper lip cancer. In oral cancer overall survival rate is highest with lip cancer which is 5-year survival rate (90%)

Lip Cancer Is More Common In People With Following Factors:

  • People consuming smoking or tobacco, because it contains carcinogen like tar. It also contains chemical substances, which can damage the lining of the lip and leads to proliferation of abnormal cells.
  • People consuming alcohol, because it leads to DNA damage of the cell of lips and mouth. The risk increases more when its combined with smoking. In developed country 75% of the lip and oral cavity cancer are due to smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • People with occupation which includes more sun exposures, because sun exposure contains harmful ultraviolet radiations.
  • People infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), HPV warts can lead to lip cancer. Certain sexual practices lead to spread of HPV from vagina, penis and cervix to lip and oral cavity.
  • People with poor fitting of any dental appliances, which leads to chronic irritation can cause changes in the cell of lips and mouth.
  • People with family history of cancer.
  • People with age more than 40s.
  • People with “scotch -Irish complexions” – people with blue eyes and red hairs are most susceptible to lip cancer.
  • Lip trauma.


Global rising in incidence of lip and oral cavity cancer are increasing the reason includes increasing climate changes and number of addictions. Due to variation of incidence across the world which includes country specific, age specific and sex specific it is important to focus on local variation to reduce the oral cancers including lip to decrease the disease burden.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 18, 2021

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