Are freckles on my lips a sign of cancer?

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Freckles on any part of the body are a very common sight. These appear as small brown spots usually on the face but can also appear on areas exposed to the sun like the neck, shoulders etc. 

Freckles can vary from being brown to reddish, yellow, dark brown or even black in color,  but are mostly darker than the surrounding skin color. These are generally harmless and don't necessarily indicate a health problem. 

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Freckles are cells that contain melanin (pigment responsible for imparting color to human skin, hair) this defends the skin against the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The more melanin a person has the darker shade of his/her skin. Sunlight activates the melanin in fairer skin tones and imparts a subtle tan to the skin. 

Sometimes when the skin is exposed to the sun , freckles are developed instead. Freckles can be genetic and can pass on from one generation to the next. Blonde and red-haired people are more prone to the development of freckles.

Freckles are mostly benign and pose no threats to health, the freckles caused by the sun fade out during the winters, but unusually appearing freckles can become malignant skin cancers. Not all freckles can be a warning of an underlying skin disease, but if a skin condition prevails abnormally for a long time it's better to get oneself examined. 

The “Ginger gene” associated with people having red hair, fair skin and freckles are inherently predisposed to having a skin cancer later in their lives. A freckle appearing on the breast can be a rare and aggressive type of Inflammatory breast cancer, which does not present itself as a lump or anything usually associated with breast cancer and can be easily mistaken for an infection or skin irritation. In rare cases, a person may suffer from Hutchinson’s Freckle, a special type of skin cancer occurring in adults having a prolonged history of sun exposure.

Freckles on the lips can be due to the above-mentioned causes or an indication of a skin condition. Lips are one of the most sensitive areas of the face and are likely to develop freckles if long sun exposures are encountered. A freckle appearing on the lips should be checked from time to time and if an anomalous behavior is observed a dermatologist should be consulted. 

Freckles or spots on the lips that make eating food or talking painful and occasionally bleed need to be immediately diagnosed. This can be a case of lip melanoma or lip cancer. These are spread more rapidly than other skin cancers and have a higher rate of causing death. Males are more likely to develop lip cancers due to occupation-related outdoor routines and tobacco and alcohol addiction. 

Lip cancers are seen to be predominant in the lower lip. When detected early and treated properly lip cancer are almost always curable. Mohs micrographic surgery is commonly used to treat lip tumors. Preventive measures like using a sunblock, avoiding tobacco, alcohol, etc can stop lip cancers from occurring.

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