Lip cancer is a type of oral cancer that begins in the squamous cells, lining the lips and the oral cavity. Symptoms of lip cancer include soreness, lumps or pale colored ulcers in the mouth that are usually painless at first but may become painful with disease progression. On early diagnosis, this type of cancer can be cured either by surgery and/or radiation therapy. In cases of advanced stages, chemotherapy and targeted therapies may also be used.
Emergency treatment is recommended in cases where cancer has spread and is known to interfere with the function of a vital organ. Factors associated with the occurrence of lip cancer include smoking, alcohol consumption, bad oral hygiene, poor diet, and infection by human papillomavirus (HPV) as well as cases of immune-suppression. Men are at a greater risk than women in occurrence of lip cancer particularly above 45 years of age. Prognosis of lip cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, exact location, and the extent of its spread.
The global lip cancer market can be segmented based on pipeline assessment, treatment, diagnosis and geography. Pipeline assessment includes analysis by phase of clinical development of drugs. Diagnostic tests involve physical examination for sores, lumps or mouth ulcers. Biopsy as well as X-rays and CT scans may also be done to determine the spread of the cancer. Other diagnostic tests include endoscopy, exfoliative cytology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), barium swallow, PET scan and bone scan. Treatment of lip cancer depends upon the cancer stage, size, location of the tumor and patient’s general health.
Surgery is usually recommended to remove the tumor if it is small enough. The surgery may include wide local excisions, neck dissection and plastic surgery. Wide local excision involves removal of the bone and also some of the healthy tissue near the cancerous tumor. Neck dissection is the removal of lymph nodes and is generally done when the cancer has spread from the lip and oral cavity. In case of larger tumors, surgery is combined with radiation and chemotherapy.
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The most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for this type of cancer are cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil while other drugs include carboplatin, bleomycin, methotrexate and docetaxel. Other treatments are speech therapy or therapies to improve movement, swallowing, and chewing. However there are certain drawbacks associated with the radiation therapy such as difficulty in swallowing and dry mouth.
Regular use of photo protective lip products reduces the risk of lip cancer since they help reduce exposure to U.V. radiation. However a number of commercially available photo protective lip blocks may be poorly absorbed and can be disrupted easily by UV radiation, losing effectiveness. Extensive clinical research is being carried for use of chemotherapy drugs in combination such as paclitaxel and gemcitabine. Other new treatment options tested in the clinical trials are hyper fractionated radiation therapy and hyperthermia therapy.
Geographically, the lip cancer market can be categorized into four major regions namely North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Rest of the World. Lip cancer comprises approximately 0.6% of all the cancers in the U.S. Although Asia-Pacific may have considerable number of lip cancer cases, these incidences may not be diagnosed due to low awareness and errors.
North America is the largest regional market for the cancer drugs followed by the developing countries such as India and China. Growing penetration of generic drugs is expected to have a major impact on the patented cancer drugs. Some of the key players contributing to the global lip cancer market are Astra Zeneca plc, Bristol Myers Squibb, Celgene, Eli Lilly & Co., Hofmann La Roche, Pfizer, Sanofi Aventis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis AG.