As soon as the weather permits, New Jersey residents head outside to enjoy the warm sunshine. Most people are very aware of the importance of protecting the skin by using sun screen, but many are unaware of the importance of protecting the lips with lip balm. Most of us do not think about the chances of developing lip cancer, but they are as real as the chances for developing any type of skin cancer. Our lips are an essential part of our body and really worth protecting. They help us eat and talk properly; and they even provide a measure of protection from eating foods that are too hot or too cold. Yet we tend to take them for granted.
Preventing Lip Cancers
One of the most effective ways to prevent lip cancer is to use photoprotective lip balm, or lip products which contain sunscreen. While most people understand taking preventive measures against other skin cancers, most do not demonstrate that same awareness concerning the lips and the prevention of lip cancer. Only about 30 percent of beachgoers who use sun screen also applied lip protection. Using photoprotective lip blocks can reduce the exposure to damaging UV rays. For adequate protection it is imperative to apply the lip block thick enough and frequently enough. Many times, the lips are overlooked when it comes to thinking about potential sites for skin cancers to occur. It is absolutely critical to protect the lips from the sun through avoiding direct sunlight and applying adequate amounts of sun blocking lip products. It is also important to monitor the condition of the lips so that any changes can be addressed by a physician or dermatologist in a timely manner.
Carefully keeping track of the condition of the lips is an essential part of skin cancer prevention. Many individuals suffer from cold sores or other skin blemishes that come and go with a little bit of time. But keeping an eye out for those sores or odd marks on the lips is a key to seeking medical help early enough to make a difference. While a cancer can be anywhere, most commonly they are found in the central portions of the lower lip. They do not go away in the matter of a few days and seem like they are not healing at all. Usually observation will reveal that the center is sort of punched out or looks similar to an ulcer. The edges are typically raised. This type of mark that appears cannot be covered over with lipstick and it should not be ignored. It is very important when an individual observes this type of marking that they contact a dermatologist who can properly inspect it and make a diagnosis. Once a lip cancer has time to spread to the lymph nodes the chances of successfully treating it plummets.
Who is at risk?
About 90 percent of the cases of lip cancer are diagnosed in individuals who are over 45 years of age. The common thinking is that the aging process contributes to the formation of lip cancer. Some of the genetic materials in the cells become damaged over the years and aging causes the skin to lose the ability to repair itself. When genetic material fails to be able to repair itself, damage caused by overexposure to the sun, chemicals or environmental factors can set in motion uncontrolled growth of cells, which is what cancer is in actuality. Other known factors which contribute to the development of lip cancer include smoking. Men are in a higher risk group than women and fair skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer than dark skinned individuals. Lip cancer is sometimes linked with oral cancer although it is much more similar to skin cancer.