Skin Cancer is a condition also known as Skin Neoplasms. It is a skin condition involving growths of varying sizes within the skin. It also is known to have varying degrees of malignancy. There are about three most common skin cancers known to medical science. These are as follows.
- Basal cell cancer – translucent, flesh in color.
- Squamous cell cancer – rapid in growth, painful, reddish and scaly.
- Melanoma – commonly 6 mm in diameter. It may also have irregular borders as well as asymmetrical shapes. It can also have different discolorations.
The different types of skin cancer derive their names from the different types of skin cells that they originate from. Here are some additional details about skin cancer.
Development of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer usually would develop within the epidermis of the patient. Being the outermost layer of the skin, if the cancer develops in this part of the body a tumor will usually be seen. Because of this, it is easier to detect the condition in its early stages.
The good news is that this condition has a much lower mortality rate than any other type of cancer. The downside the disease would be that it is very disfiguring to a patient. There are other disadvantages that you should take note of when it comes to this disease.
Other Disadvantages and Information
As mentioned earlier, having skin cancer can be very disfiguring for any patient. In addition, depending on the type of cancer that you have, there could still be a possibility of death. According to research, patients with melanoma have an increased risk of dying than those who have a different type of skin cancer. However, when found in early stages, it can easily be treated.
Non melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common type of cancers that one can have. It is also one of the most easily diagnosed. They usually can be found in certain parts of the body and can be caused by longer exposures to the sun.
Basal cell carcinoma is commonly found in parts of the skin where there is longer exposure (face). One advantage is that it rarely spreads and would not be fatal for the patient. Aside from those mentioned, there are a reduced amount of common skin cancers that you should also watch out for. Below is a list of those possible conditions.
- Microcystic Adnexal Carcinoma
- Pagets’s Breast Disease
- Atypical Fibroxanthoma
- Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans
- Merkel Cell Carcinoma
- Kaposi’s Sarcoma
- Spindle Cell Tumors
- Sebaceous Carcinomas
Signs and Symptoms
The general symptoms for skin cancer are as follows:
- Skin ulcers that do not heal
- Physical changes in any marks of the skin (moles)
- Discoloration in the skin
Aside from these, depending on the kind of skin cancer that you have, there may also be other symptoms such as bleeding, formation of bumps and bruises in the skin, redness, scaling and pain.
The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. It has usually black or brown discolorations. However, they can also be seen as red or pink. These are known as amelanotic melanomas. If you have this condition, chances are you would have dermal changes as you grow into adulthood. Monitoring it by having regular appointments with your Physician will help abate the development of the skin cancer.
Causes of Skin Cancer
The most prominent cause of this condition is the ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. These are listed below.
- Smoking tobacco
- Human Papilloma virus (HPV)
- Genetic anomalies
- Non healing wounds
- Artificial ultraviolet ray generators (tanning beds)
- Environmental carcinogens that a person can be regularly exposed to
Prevention of Skin Cancer
While sunscreen can be used to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation, some studies claim that the chemicals in sunscreen can also cause the skin to be susceptible to skin cancer especially malignant melanoma. However, the risk can be reduced by following some preventive measures that can help you protect yourself effectively such as the following.
- You should try to lessen the indoor tanning activities and exposure to the sun in the afternoons. In addition, you should use sunblock when going outside. Just remember to not overdo the use of sun block.
- Avoiding tobacco
- Avoiding ultraviolet radiation especially during the early stages of your life
- Wear protective clothing as much as possible. However, you should not sacrifice comfort.
- Lastly, you should only apply sunscreen according to manufacturer’s instructions.
The presence of vitamins and minerals or lack thereof has been found to not affect the body in such a way as to contribute in the development of skin cancer.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on what kind of skin cancer you may have. It will also depend on age as well as the progression of the condition. Basal cell carcinoma in younger patients may prove to be easiest to treat and has also been found to have the highest rate of survival.
However, for elderly patients who have multiple growths, it may be more difficult to excise the tumor. Here are some of the procedures that the doctors may take into consideration when dealing with skin cancer.
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery (Moh’s Micrographic Surgery)
Moh’s Micrographic Surgery is the most difficult surgery to perform because it requires precision and target. The surgeon to perform this procedure will have to remove the cancerous tumor while damaging the least amount of tissues surrounding the affected area. This is why special training is required to perform this technique.
After the procedures especially surgery, the patient will be given an option to undergo reconstructive surgery. This will help restore the physical appearance on the patient prior to surgery. There are many options that you can consider when it comes to surgery. These are as follows:
- Skin grafting
- Skin flaps
Skip flaps are most commonly done when the scarring is quite small. Skin grafting is done for larger amounts of scarring on the patient.
With these many options, there’s no reason for you to worry too much about skin cancer anymore. The most important thing that you have to remember is to follow the preventive measures that were mentioned above and to live as healthfully as possible to prevent skin cancer from developing.