Doctors often treat lip cancers with radiation therapy or surgery, according to Healthgrades. Patients who are at later stages of lip cancer can also undergo either radiation, surgery or a combination of the two therapies. Targeted treatments and chemotherapy are useful for patients at advanced stages. Patients receive emergency treatment if lip cancer has spread and is disrupting an organ's vital functions.
Other potential treatments for lip cancer include investigative therapies, such as gene therapy and immunotherapy, according to Healthline. Treatments also vary depending on how far the disease has progressed, the patient's well-being and the tumor's size. With smaller tumors, doctors usually recommend surgery to remove the affected tissue and reconstruct the lip. For larger tumors, radiation therapy and chemotherapy reduce their size before surgery. To improve treatment outcomes, doctors advise patients with a history of smoking to quit before undergoing radiation therapy.
As of 2015, clinical trials are underway that study new forms of therapy for lip cancer, reports the National Cancer Institute. These treatments include hyperthermia therapy and hyperfractionated radiation therapy. Hyperthermia therapy involves heating body tissue to destroy cancer cells or make them more responsive to anticancer medication and radiation. Hyperfractionated radiation therapy is a type of treatment where the patient receives several smaller doses of radiation several times a day.