Have you ever worried what exactly cancer is? Well, cancer is an excessive, uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in our body. In a healthy scenario, the old cells should die and should be replaced by new healthy cells. Instead of that, in cancer, the old cells do not die and continue to grow further and hinder the formation and growth of the healthy new cells. Further, these old cells keep growing and form new, unhealthy, abnormal cells. And the cycle continues, resulting in an abnormal growth of body tissue.


This same type of malfunctioning is seen in lip cancer as well. Lip cancer is a type of an oral cancer and falls under the category of head and neck cancers.

Let us have a look at the symptoms, so that we can understand better whether lip cancer is painful or not. Lip cancer usually starts as an ulcer or a sore which refuse to heal. Or if it heals, it reappears on the same place again and again; and far too frequently. This ulcer may be on the outer or inner side of the lip. It may bleed at times. If not an ulcer, there even may be a white or red patch, which would not go away or may be painful. Usually, lip cancer develops in the lower lip, but it can develop on the upper lip all the same. Also, it may spread to other parts of the oral cavity as well. Lip cancer may or may not be painful. Often, the symptoms of lip cancer can be very similar to the symptoms of other types of oral cancer. Also, many of these symptoms can be very similar to any other oral cavity problems, and hence do not necessarily indicate cancer.



As to the pain factor, let us first have a brief look at what are the causes of lip cancer, as many of the causes determine whether there will be any pain or not. Some of the most important causes are excessive smoking and alcoholism. As these habits expose the vulnerable mucosa of the lips, it tends to compromise the protective layer of the mucosa, resulting in a wound (usually, a sore), which becomes difficult to heal. Excessive chewing of tobacco may also result in the same. Also, some evidence suggests that the lower lip may be at a greater risk than the upper lip, maybe because of more exposure to the sunlight. Also, lip cancer is seen more in males than females, maybe because of the occupation related sun-exposure in most of the males.

Is Lip Cancer Painful?

Is Lip Cancer Painful?

Now, as to whether lip cancer is painful, this varies from person to person. As, the stage at which the condition is diagnosed and the duration of the onset of the condition are important factors in determining the severity of the pain, if there is any. In very early stages, most of the times there isn’t any pain. In some cases, even though the actual site of cancer may not be painful, but there may be radiating pain in some other part of the oral cavity. As said earlier, the causative factors are of utmost importance in determining the pain element, as we can see that if the practices like tobacco chewing, smoking and alcohol consumption aren’t arrested on time, they may inflict severe pain in the already vulnerable site, especially lips, as lips are exposed to a number of things including eating. Also, an incomplete or improper treatment can be responsible for causing pain.

We can therefore conclude that, pain is a relative term when it comes to lip cancer. Even though the actual site of lip cancer may not exhibit pain, there are still chances that there may be pain in some other part of the oral cavity. Hence, any disturbing signs and symptoms should be immediately taken care of and a timely visit to the doctor should never be undermined.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 7, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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