Mohs as a Treatment Option for Lip Cancer
- Posted on: Jul 15 2017
Skin cancer continually outnumbers diagnoses of other forms of cancer. This type of cancer is expected to affect 1 in 5 people, even with the marked increase in awareness of the dangers of UV exposure. As easy as it is to minimize the risk of skin cancer, it seems to be equally effortless to neglect the care that is needed to do so. One simple trick that is often overlooked? Wearing SPF lip balm.
Lip cancer accounts for .6 percent of the total cases of cancer diagnosed each year. Not just skin cancer; all cancers. Research suggests that the large majority of lip cancers begin in the squamous cells. Squamous cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma skin cancer, yes, but the chance of recurrence remains relatively high, up to 35%. SCC can also spread if not treated early. Expansion to nearby lymph nodes decreases a patient’s five-year survival rate to approximately 50%. From this perspective, the treatment of lip cancer should extend beyond aesthetic appearance.
Knowing the Signs
Patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of all types of skin cancer. Abnormalities such as the following warrant a formal examination sooner rather than later:
- Persistent pain anywhere in the mouth.
- A persistent sore in the mouth or on the lip.
- Thickening of tissue inside the cheek.
- Red or white patches on oral mucosa, including the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or the sensation of something “in” the throat.
The presence of any one of these symptoms could be attributed to conditions other than cancer. A thorough consultation and examination provide valuable data from which treatment may be planned.
Treating Lip Cancer
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, which has been supporting patients and medical professionals since 1979, skin cancer of the lip is considered a high-risk disease. As such, lip cancer is optimally treated with the Mohs procedure.
One of the objectives in treating high-risk cancers, as well as highly-visible skin cancers, is to do so as conservatively as possible. This also much be coupled with efficiency, though, to improve long-term survival and to diminish the need for reconstructive surgery. Mohs meets these objectives successfully.
There are several reasons why Mohs is perceived as the ideal surgical treatment for skin cancer. Speak with your trained Mohs surgeon for further details on this procedure.