Oral and Lip Cancer Symptoms: Lip and oral cavity cancer affects any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, and gums.Lip cancer typically occurs on the lower lip, but it can also develop on the upper lip or both lips. It is often caused by long-term exposure to sunlight, particularly for individuals who work outdoors or participate in outdoor activities without adequate sun protection.
Dr. Prashant Pawar, Head and Neck Surgical Oncologist, HCG Cancer Center, Mumbai shares more on how the oral cancer is not limited or restricted to the oral cavity and can also affect the lips and other serious conditions.
Oral cavity cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the mouth, including the tongue, gums, lips, inside of the cheeks, and roof and floor of the mouth. It is often caused by long-term exposure to tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, or human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.This type of cancer can be very dangerous if left untreated, as it can spread to other parts of the body and become much more difficult to treat.
Oral and Lip Cancer: Symptoms
Symptoms of lip and oral cavity cancer may vary depending on the location and stage of the cancer. However, some common symptoms to look out for include:
– Persistent mouth sores or ulcers that do not heal
– White or red patches in the mouth
– Swelling or lumps in the mouth or on the lips
– Pain or tenderness in the mouth, tongue, or throat
– Difficulty chewing, swallowing or speaking
– Changes in the way your teeth fit together
– Numbness or tingling in the mouth or lips
– Unexplained weight loss
– A sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in your throat
Oral and Lip Cancer: Causal factors
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other non-cancerous conditions, such as infections or injuries. Risk factors for this type of cancer include tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Oral and Lip Cancer: Treatment
The treatment for lip and oral cavity cancer depends on several factors, including the location and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health and medical history. Some common treatment options for lip and oral cavity cancer include:
Surgery is often the first treatment option for lip and oral cavity cancer. It involves removing the tumor and adequate surrounding tissueas well as removal of nearby draining lymph nodes in the neck. Depending on the location and size of the tumor, the surgeons reconstruct the affected area using tissue either from local adjoining area ( Local or pedicled flap ) or free tissue transfer from other parts of the body( Microvascular Free flaps ).
2. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is used with aim of destroying any remaining cancer cells after surgery in advanced stage cancers.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It can be administered orally or through an IV. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with radiation therapy.
4. Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that targets specific proteins or genes that contribute to the growth of cancer cells. It is often used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. It works by either boosting the immune system or using man-made immune system proteins to target cancer cells.
Lip and oral cavity cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. If you are experiencing any symptoms of this type of cancer or are at risk due to lifestyle factors or other factors such as HPV, it is important to seek medical attention right away. With early detection and treatment many people with lip and oral cavity cancer can make a full recovery and go on to live healthy, happy lives. It is also important to make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or reducing your alcohol consumption, to reduce your risk of cancer recurrence.