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Lip cancer is the most common type of oral cancer and it develops from abnormal cells that grow out of control and form lesions or tumors on the lips. It’s a disease that is common in people who use tobacco, smoke cigarettes or spend a lot of time under the harmful rays of sun without using lip protection. Lip cancer is not dangerous and if detected early, the chance of curing it is relatively easy. Never ignore lesions, rashes, or unusual bumps on your lips. But what are the first signs of lip cancer? These are some early symptoms of lip cancer that you should immediately see your doctor about without any delay.
1. Skin irritation: Lip cancer usually begin with thin skin cells called squamous cells that cover the mouth, cheeks, sinuses, tongue and throat. As cancer grows, it spreads into deeper areas of the lips. An early sign may be an irritated area that looks like chapped lips. People who smoke, use alcohol, use a mouthwash containing alcohol or who are exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time should be particularly suspicious of an irritated area on the upper or lower lip.
2. Sores on the lips: If there is a sore on the lip and if that doesn’t heal even after one or two weeks on its own, it can be an early sign of cancer. The sore may be numb or painful, may bleed easily or excessively, or may appear as crusty patches on the lip. Check your lips for unusual-appearing lesions and report it to your doctor immediately.
3. Lumps on the lips: If you have a lump or thick lesion on the lip which may be numb or painful and if that doesn’t go away after one or two weeks, then you must check with your doctor.
4. Pain or Numbness: Lip cancer may first appear as pain or numbness on the lip without any visible signs of a tumor. If you experience pain anywhere else in the oral cavity, including the jaw, gums, lining of the mouth or tongue, then it can be a sign that the lip cancer has spread. Pain and swelling in the lymph nodes of the jaw or neck is a serious indication of the spread of cancer. Remember early detection of the disease can save lives.