What Are The Possible Causes of Lip Cancer?

Lip cancer is a most common form of oral cancer. It falls under the category of head and neck cancers.

As we are going to look at the possible causes of lip cancer, it is only wise to have a glimpse of the symptoms of the condition first. Lip cancer usually starts in the lower lip, though at times it is seen in the upper lip too. It usually starts as a sore or an ulcer or a patch that will not heal. Even if it heals, it may reappear again and again at the same site and this can happen very frequently. This ulcer or patch may bleed at times. And these may or may not be painful.

However, as lip cancer is a part of oral cancer, there are chances that there may be pain or symptoms radiating to the other parts of the oral cavity. So, even if there isn’t any pain at the actual site of cancer, there still maybe some pain in any other part of the oral cavity. Initially, there is hardly any pain and the condition is often highly overlooked.

Also, many other oral problems may represent the same symptoms as those of the lip cancer. Hence, we must keep in mind that not all sores or patches are cancerous. Likewise, not all sores or patches are to be overlooked.

What Are The Possible Causes of Lip Cancer?

What Are The Possible Causes of Lip Cancer?

Coming to the possible causes of lip cancer, the most common ones are smoking, alcohol consumption and tobacco chewing. Excessive use of one of the above or a combination of these habits exposes the oral mucosa to various harmful chemicals, which can then destroy the mucosa and cause cancerous changes in it. Also, over exposure to the sunlight can cause lip cancer too, by damaging the lips with UV rays. Also, it is seen more in males than in females. This may be due to their over exposure to the sunlight because of the nature of their work, or maybe due to excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol, as the use of these commodities is seen more in the male population. Any of these causative factors or a combination of any of these factors are responsible for the development of the lip cancer.

While we are discussing the causative factors of lip cancer, it is only relevant that we discuss some of the preventive measures and treatment for the same as well. While the treatment of the lip cancer largely depends on the stage to which the condition has progressed, it stands a very good chance of recovery if diagnosed at an early stage. Lip cancer is usually not easy to miss as it is at a very exposed part of our anatomy; our mouth; but it is highly overlooked and dismissed as something less trivial. Regular visits to the dentist can prevent this from happening. Also, the treatment varies according to the duration of the onset of the condition and how far it has spread. As with other cancers, the treatment mostly consists of the major three procedures-radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. According to the stage, the spread and the duration of the onset; and also, the physical condition of the person, strength etc; the treatment will be recommended by the oncologist.


That said; we can reduce the risk of developing the lip cancer, by following some simple lifestyle changes, though we cannot completely prevent lip cancer from developing. Stop using tobacco in any form as it will further worsen the case. Limit the alcohol consumption to max one drink per day and better still, refrain completely from it. Use protective covering like a mask or scarf while going out in sun to protect your lips. Eat a balanced and healthy diet. Visit your dentist regularly. Always remember, early detection can increase your chances of speedy and complete recovery from lip cancer.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2021

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