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How To Protect Yourself from Lip Cancer

August 25, 2023

In a recent heartfelt letter to viewers, Orlando TV anchor Greg Warmoth bravely opened up about his lip cancer diagnosis. This news serves as a reminder of the importance of raising awareness about this particular form of cancer, available treatments and preventive steps that can be taken.

Cutaneous squamous cell cancer is a relatively common type of skin cancer that can affect any part of the body and less frequently the lips. When it does develop on the lips, the lower lip is the more likely site. The leading cause of lip cancer is prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. Other risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, certain viral infections and a weakened immune system.

Warning Signs of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Whether it manifests on the lip or other parts of the skin, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma often presents itself in noticeable ways. Typically, it may appear as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly or crusty surface. Over time, these spots might turn into ulcers, bleed or form a crusted surface.

Particularly on the lip, it can resemble a persistent chapped area that doesn’t heal with regular lip balm or care. Additionally, the area might feel tender or painful when touched. It’s crucial to note that while many skin abnormalities might be benign, any persistent or evolving skin change should prompt a visit to a dermatologist or healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

The outlook for cutaneous squamous cell cancer varies depending on several factors such as the stage at which it is diagnosed and individual health conditions. Early detection significantly improves chances of successful treatment. Prompt medical attention plays a vital role in achieving favorable outcomes. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize potential symptoms and seek immediate evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating lip cancer, multiple approaches may be considered based on factors such as tumor size, location and overall health status. Common treatment options include:

  1. Surgery: Surgical removal of the affected area is often recommended for early-stage cancers.
  2. Radiation therapy: High-energy beams are utilized to destroy cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy: Drugs are administered orally or intravenously to kill cancer cells.
  4. Immunotherapy: Utilizing medications can help boost the body’s immune system to fight against cancer cells.
  5. Targeted therapy: Medications designed to target specific genetic changes within cancer cells are available.

Treatment plans are highly personalized and will be determined after careful consideration by an oncology specialist in collaboration with the patient.


Preventing lip cancer involves adopting healthy habits and minimizing exposure to risk factors. Here are some recommendations:

  • Sun protection: Regularly apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your lips, especially on sunny days.
  • Lip balm: Use lip balms containing SPF to provide additional protection against harmful UV rays.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol: Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption as they each increase the risk of developing lip cancer.
  • Regular self-examination: Routinely check your lips for any changes in texture, color or the presence of sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
  • Seek shade: Minimize direct sunlight exposure by seeking shade when outdoors, especially during peak hours.

News anchor Greg Warmoth’s openness about his lip cancer diagnosis serves as a reminder that no one is immune from this disease. By raising awareness about typical prognosis, available treatment options and preventive measures, we can empower individuals to take proactive steps toward early detection and prevention.

Remember to prioritize sun protection, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, conduct regular self-examinations and consult a healthcare professional if you notice any concerning changes in your skin, including the lips. Together, we can combat skin cancer and support those affected by it in their journey toward recovery.


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