While the incidence of lip cancers incidence in the central Europe is low 0.7% of all malignant tumors compared to the 1-2% generally considered (2-5), they are extremely important from a clinical and surgical point of view because of the morphological and functional changes involved. More than 90% of these tumours are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and, in lesser numbers, basal-cell tumours (BCCs)
however, some adenocarcinomas deriving from the minor salivary glands can be observed and, even more rarely, melanomas, sarcomas and lymphomas. BCCs generally occur in the upper lip and do not usually present lymph node metastases (4, 6). In contrast, SCCs develop most often in the lower lip, with a possibility of neck metastases. Lip carcinomas frequently appear on top of precancerous lesions, such as radiodermitis, chronic chelitis and xeroderma pigmentosum. The diagnosis and treatment of these pre-cancerous lesions, facilitated by a direct view of the lesions, is, therefore, crucially important in order to avoid their evolving into actual tumours. The subjects most at risk of this type of tumour are fair-skinned elderly people who work in the open air. Men are more at risk than women, (1.3% men and 0.3% women) (1) probably because the latter use lipstick or lip-salve (2, 7-9).