Lip Cancer

Lip Cancer for all of those men who view a mustache as a largely ornamental addition to their masculine appearance,a new study reveals it can also guard against lip cancer. Mustaches seem to protect the lip the same way that hair protects the scalp,” explain study author Dr. Daniel Aires. He is director of dermatology with the University of Kansas Health System. “While this makes intuitive sense, it had not test before.

Precancerous condition

To do just that, Aires and his team examine 200 male patients who had already diagnose with a precancerous condition know as actinic keratosis on the head or face. Actinic keratosis is a scaly spot on the skin that can develop into a dangerous cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, Aires explain. Since lip skin is so thin, lip actinic keratoses can invade and become deadly faster than actinic keratoses elsewhere on the skin.

Roughly 3 million Americans are diagnose with actinic keratosis each year, they note accounting for one of every seven dermatology visits. But, likely many more go undiagnose and untreated; so since studies estimate that more than 10% of adults have actinic keratosis, they add. Nearly 60 of the men in the study had a long history of sporting substantial “sheltering” mustaches; so meaning mustaches that are at least 9 millimeters thick (about a third of an inch).

In the end, Aires and his colleagues determine that years of mustache wearing ultimately translate into a 16 times lower risk for developing actinic keratosis on their lower lip, compare with their mustache-free peers. The finding held up even after accounting for other risk factors, such as family history of skin cancer, a personal history of sunburns, a smoking habit, and/or age.

Squamous cell carcinoma

The American Academy of Dermatology points out that once someone develops this cancer; so their lifetime risk for recurrence goes up. And experts warn that, if left untreated, actinic keratosis can lead to squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer often affects the outer layer of skin, around the lips, ears, bald scalp and shoulders. It can also affect the moist lining of the inner mouth, nose and throat. From there it can spread.

The findings will be publish in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. All of this “makes sense,” said Dr. Steven Wang, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology; at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New Jersey. Obviously, there are a lot of variables, including the baseline skin type of the individual; so how thick and big the mustache is, your genetic make-up and your family history of skin cancer,” Wang said.

“But, interestingly, they have previously look at how good hair is in terms of protecting the scalp, said Wang, who is also chair of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photo biology committee. And it turns out when someone has a lot of hair; so it’s a perfect shield. It actually works very well. So when it comes to covering lip, this isn’t too much of a surprise.