Your lips are such an important part of your face, practically and aesthetically. Protecting them with a wide brimmed hat and lip balm with a high sun protection factor makes sense.
Exposure to the sun is the prime cause of actinic cheilitis, the reason this is often called sailor’s, or farmer’s lip. Patchy dryness, soreness, discolouration, ulceration, bleeding, or thickening of the lower lip are common symptoms.
Actinic cheilitis is a precursor of lip cancer and as with other mouth cancers, there are additional factors. Smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol, poor oral hygiene, or immune system issues can play a part.
Those with fair skin are more likely to be affected, as are older people. The condition can still occur in different skin types and at most ages. If you see the symptoms above, or colour change, patchiness, or a loss of demarcation, seeking professional support is valuable.
Consultation & Diagnosis
You will be seen by a consultant dermatologist, their experience is key to diagnosis. Actinic cheilitis can be spotted very early, or may be at a stage close to becoming cancerous, an accurate assessment helps create the right treatment plan.
A biopsy is a possibility, although examination with a dermoscope, a powerful hand help microscope, or the use of confocal microscopy often avoids the need.
Every step will be taken to ensure a complete diagnosis, we simply believe in avoiding tissue damage where possible. In the majority of actinic cheilitis cases, successful solutions can be identified with a non invasive approach.
Treating Actinic Cheilitis
Early stage actinic cheilitis treatment includes a range of creams, containing topical treatments such as 5-fluorouracil, or imiquimod. They can be remarkably effective and no more intervention is required.
Photodynamic therapy is a further option, which uses light sensitive medication, combined with a dedicated type of light source. Laser treatment, or cryotherapy, where the tissue is frozen, can be useful alternatives.
As with any treatment we provide, the ethos of minimal intervention to achieve a complete cure is the focus. Achieved by tailoring care to the individual and to the unique needs their skin and stage of condition present.
Care At Skin Care Network
Our consultants and staff are amongst the finest and recognise the benefit of individual skin cancer treatment. You will be supported at every stage, with ample time to discuss any concerns and the best way forward.
Consultations are available at a range of hours to suit and the latest equipment is always at hand, for concise diagnosis, or treatment.
By all means give us a call for advice, our friendly staff will offer all the time you need and arrange a visit if you wish. Whilst actinic cheilitis is not normally a serious medical condition, making sure this stays the case is important.
You may find the options below useful:
- Save time with an intuitive search on: Skin Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment.
- Up to date news, research and insights: Our Dedicated Skin Cancer Blog.
For any advice, or to arrange a dermatology appointment, call 020 8441 1043, or send an email via the Make An Appointment button below.