Lip cancer is fairly easily treated, with 97% of the cases cured
The most common form of oral cancer is lip cancer. Lip cancer is largely related to changes brought to lip by excessive exposure to sun. Often in the initial stages there is an initial weakening of the line between the red vermilion of the lip, with the white skin below the lip. As this progresses, small scaling areas may form, which are characteristic of hyperkeratosis. As these reactive changes progress, dysplasia occurs where there could be chronic fissuring or chronic plaques or scale like areas on the lip. Dysplasia represents a premalignancy that if left untreated will advance to lip cancer. Obvious lip cancer is often noted in its advanced forms by severe ulceration.
It is important with initial changes that a biopsy be performed on the lip. A biopsy takes a small segment of the abnormal tissue and the pathologist examines this under the microscope. He is able to determine what the cells are doing and inform the clinician as to what condition is present on the lip. When these changes represent dysplasia, where the very mildest forms of lip cancer, a lip shave is often performed. A lip shave will remove the vermilion of the lip from the corner of the mouth to the opposite corner. New pink tissue is advanced from inside the mouth to create the red margin of the lip. With more advanced changes a wedge of tissue is often removed from the entire lower lip. Most of these surgeries are very cosmetic with minimal disfigurement. It is important though, that all cases of lip cancer be captured early so that the simplest of surgeries can be used to cure the problem. Lip cancer is fairly easily treated with 97% of the cases cured. If your lip is abnormal, consider having it evaluated today with a biopsy by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.