Lip Cancer Stages

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There are four lip cancer stages. The stages can be described in the form of small to big i.e. from pea, peanut, walnut to lemon. This is the size of the tumor which is formed in lip cancer. The size of the tumor generally starts from 1 cm and can go up to 5 cm. Lip cancer is a form of oral cancer and is not a very common type of cancer. The rate of occurrence of this cancer in the United States is not more than 20% annually.

Lip cancer Stages

  1. Stage 0
    • Lip Cancer StagesThis is considered as the initial stage of the cancer
    • The other name of this cancer is called as Carcinoma Situ
    • Abnormal cells are found on the lining of the lips
    • This is a stage where these abnormal cells may become cancerous at a later stage if the treatment does not start soon
    • If the cells are not treated then, they may spread in the nearby tissues as well

  2. Stage 1:
    • This is the stage where in the cells have developed as cancer
    • The size of the cancer is close to 2cm or many a times smaller than that
    • The cancer is not very big and can still be treated with proper medications
    • This cancer has not reached the lymph nodes

  3. Stage 2:
    • In this stage, the size of the cancer is more than 2 cm but smaller than 4 cm
    • This is the stage where in the cancer is growing and the treatment should start as soon as the detection takes place
    • This is the cancerous stage where in the cancer has reached a higher state but not the lymph nodes
    • One must treat this cancer soon, or else the treatment method of lip cancer operation will be the only option that one will remain with

  4. Stage 3
    • In this lip cancer stage, the tumor has become big and in most of the cases is visible
    • This is the stage where in the size of the cancer has reached a minimum of 3 cm
    • The cancer has also spread on to the lymph nodes
    • The side where the cancer has spread, on the same side and the neck tissue is also beginning to get damaged
    • If this is the case, then the size of the cancer is almost 4 cm

  5. Stage 4
    • Stage 4 of the cancer is divided into 3 categories:
      • Stage 4A
      • Stage 4B and
      • Stage 4 C

Stage 4A:

  • This is the stage which states that cancer has covered maximum of the tissue of the lip
  • In this stage, the cancer in most of the cases has reached the nearby tissues or the nearby bone. This would include the jaw, tongue, floor of the mouth etc
  • Most of the times, the skin of the cheeks and chin are also affected by this cancer
  • If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, of any side the length if the cancer is almost 3cm. This is a cancerous growth which is observed very close to the neck
  • Many a times, it also spreads in the tissue of the bone which is very to the lips. This can be the jaw or the tongue (primarily)
  • When this cancer spreads to other parts of the mouth or in some cases body, it is of minimum 3 cm but not more than 6 cm in length

Stage 4B:

  • In this stage, the cancer may spread to one or more lymph nodes
  • The cancer will spread to the nodes which are larger than 6 cm
  • The cancer has also spread to the other muscles or the bones extensively
  • This cancer may have also spread in the lower part of the skull and or the carotid artery

Stage 4C:

  • In this stage, the cancer has gone and spread beyond the lip and other parts of the mouth
  • The first organ that this cancer would affect is the lungs
  • The size of the tumor is not defined in this stage and can spread anywhere in the body

The lip cancer stages are divided as per the growth of the cancer. The cancer gets severe as time passes and it becomes very difficult to treat. This is the reason why the treatment should be done as soon as the diagnosis of lip cancer even if it is not at all severe.

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