Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Lip

Jonathan S. Crane, MD

,
Reynold C. Wong, MD

The tender, crusted nodule on the lower lip of a 35-year-old man had been growing slowly for 6 months. The patient reported a history of extensive sun exposure.

The tender, crusted nodule on the lower lip of a 35-year-old man had been growing slowly for 6 months. The patient reported a history of extensive sun exposure.

Histologic examination of a specimen from the lesion confirmed the presumed diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. Dr Reynold C. Wong of Sacramento, Calif, excised the lesion; a good cosmetic result was obtained.

Chronic exposure to the sun plays a dual role in the development of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. UV radiation causes cellular DNA mutations that can progress to form tumors. In addition, UV radiation prevents the cutaneous immune system from rejecting tumors.1

Regularly follow patients who have had squamous cell carcinoma of the lip, since metastases develop in up to 10% of these persons. Encourage the use of sunscreen on all sun-exposed skin, including the lips.

REFERENCE:1. Gross EA. Nonmelanoma skin cancer: clues to early detection, keys to effective treatment. Consultant. 1999;39:829-839.