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Lip Cancer


Case 1

Yang, male, age: 65


Case history

The patient suffered from a swelling on the lower lip. It was as big as a pepper at the beginning, but six months later, it grew to the size of a plum. It was hard and developed very quickly. A surgical operation was performed at the First Affiliated Hospital of the Hunan Medical College, and the pathological report indicated that the patient was suffering from squamous carcinoma. Two months after the operation, a relapse occurred. Since the white cell count was below 3500mm3, it was impossible to administer chemotherapy. The patient had to resort to Dr. Liu Bingfan at the Hunan Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.



On the first visit in June 1978, the patient's lower lip was found to be swollen, as big as a cup, and the former incision looked like a cut-open pomegranate with ulceration. Other symptoms were difficulty to take food, pain in the right side of the head, swollen lymph nodes in the right mandible, dry mouth, dry stools, concentrated urine, reddened tongue with thin and yellow coating, and taut, thready and rapid pulse. These symptoms were caused by impairment of yin and abundance of heat, and accumulation of toxins in blood. Appropriate treatment involved focusing on replenishing yin, clearing away heat and toxins, invigorating blood, dredging meridians and resolving phlegm.


Ingredients of the administered medicine were as follows:


pseudostarwort root 15g

fleeceflower root 15g

rehmannia root 15g

solomonseal rhizome 15g

glossy privet fruit 15g

glehnia root 10g

red sage root 10g

yerbadetajo 10g

cattail pollen 10g

semiaquilegia tuber 10g

white peony root 10g

glabrous greenbrier rhizome 12g

licorice root 5g

snake slough 5g

carbonized honeylocust thorn 3g


The above ingredients were made into a herbal decoction for oral consumption.


Ingredients for external application: slug and wood louse.


The above two ingredients in equal amount were dried by heating and ground into fine powder together with some borneol. It was applied to the wound, four times a day. A sharp pain was felt on the first application, but it was alleviated later on.


After twenty doses of the decoction were taken, the wound became smaller and headache was relieved. The patient found no difficulty in eating, his bowels movement became normal, and the urine turned to light yellow in color.


After the prescribed formulae were administered for two months, the wound was healed and the mandible lymph node turned to normal. In addition, the feeling of thirst disappeared. The tongue was light yellow in color with thin and white coating on it. The pulse was taut, small and slow. Liu Junzi Tang (Decoction of Six Ingredients) plus glehnia root and dendrobium stem was prescribed to regulate the spleen and stomach. Three months later, an examination found that both the swelling and the other clinical symptoms had disappeared, which indicated that the patient had been cured.



Lip cancer, a kind of oral carcinoma, usually occurs in males of the 50 to 70 age bracket. It is considered to be triggered by long-period expo sure to sunlight, smoking, epithelial keratosis, white patch, granuloma and unhealed oral split. Among the lip cancer patients who was treated by Western medical therapy, over 70 percent can survive for at least five years.


According to theory of traditional Chinese medicine, lip cancer, is caused by over-taking of fried and baked food and liquor or repeated irritation to lips, in addition with emotional disturbance like worries and rage resulting in accumulation of fire, stagnation of qi and blood stasis.


The patient's symptoms in this case indicated abundant fire in the spleen, stomach and liver, impaired kidney-yin and blocked meridians. In the prescribed formula, glabrous greenbrier rhizome and semiaquilegia tuber were administered to clear away heat and toxins; snake slough, which worked on the Liver Meridian and Spleen Meridian, counteracted toxins and subsided the swelling; rehmannia root, fleeceflower root, glossy privet fruit and yerbadetajo reinforced the kidney and replenished yin; pseudostarwort root, solomonseal rhizome and glehnia root reinforced qi and nourished yin; white peony root regulated blood; tree peony bark cooled blood and promoted circulation of blood and remove blood stasis; while carbonized honeylocust led the action of the ingredients directly to the lesion. The externally applied medicine acted to subside the swelling, promote tissue regeneration and stop pain. According to Shennong Bencao Jing (The Herbal Classic), slug, which is salty in flavor and cold in prop erty, worked to clear away heat and expel wind, remove stasis and dredge meridians, and eliminate toxins and subside swelling. It was traditionally used for treating such diseases as apoplexia, inflammation of the throat, swollen throat, amenorrhea, abdominal mass, abscess, erysipelas and centipede bite. Wood louse, sour in flavor and warm in property, worked on the Liver Meridian to remove blood stasis, regulate menstruation, induce diuresis, counteract toxins, and stop pain. It was traditionally administered to treat such diseases as amenorrhea, abdominal mass, difficulty in urination, edema, stomatitis, tonsillitis and leprosy.


Lip cancer


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