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Skin CancerWhat is Skin Cancer?Read more...
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What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
In skin cancer the cancer begins in cells that make up the skin. Skin cancers are named for the type of cells where the cancer starts.
You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.
GOD didn’t add another day in your life because you needed it, he added it because someone out there needs you.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Dear GOD, if today I lose my hope please remind me that your plans are better than my Dream.....
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three types of skin cancers -
Basal cell carcinoma - these begin in parts of the skin that have been exposed to excessive harmful UV rays of the sun. These are slow-growing and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as -
Squamous cell carcinoma - these are also seen in areas exposed to excessive sunlight. These can also be found on parts of the skin not exposed to the sun. This type sometimes spreads to other organs inside the body. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as -
Melanoma - this is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It commonly spreads to other major organs like liver, lungs, brain and bones. It is however much less common than the other types. Melanoma begins in melanocytes.
Melanoma can affect people of any skin tone. In people with darker skin tones, melanoma tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails. Melanoma signs include -
There are other types of skin cancers as well, but they are much less common -
Causes of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer occurs when errors (mutations) occur in the DNA of skin cells. The mutations cause the cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancer cells.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation - the main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The sun produces UV radiation but it can also come from other sources, such as solarium tanning machines.
Sunburn - sunburn is considered as the chief reason that causes melanoma. Sunburn can even happen in cool temperatures as UV radiation is still strong at that time. Burning is not caused by sun exposure rather it results in damaging of the skin cells and also increases the risk of developing a skin cancer. Persistent exposure to UV radiation year after year can also cause skin cancer.
Tanning - over exposure to UV radiation from the solarium or sun can results in tanning that damages the skin. A tanned skin will lose its elasticity that can cause wrinkles. There could also be the appearance of brown patches on the skin or discoloration of the skin can also be there. These all conditions will increase the chances of skin cancer.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the legs in women. But it can also form on areas that rarely see the light of day - your palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and your genital area.
Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. When melanoma occurs in people with dark skin tones, it’s more likely to occur in areas not normally exposed to the sun.
Basal cell carcinoma usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck or face. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as -
Squamous cell carcinoma occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, ears and hands. People with darker skin are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma on areas that aren’t often exposed to the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:
Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, in otherwise normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma most often appears on the face or the trunk of affected men. In women, this type of cancer most often develops on the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun. Melanoma can affect people of any skin tone. In people with darker skin tones, melanoma tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails. Melanoma signs include -
Stages of Skin Cancer
Stage 0 - this initial stage is also known as carcinoma in situ meaning that cancer cells are there, but are present in a small area in the top layer of the skin. These cancer cells have not grown or have not started to spread inside the deep layers of the skin.
Stage 1 - in this stage, the cancer has not spread as it is less than 2cm.
Stage 2 - in second stage, cancer has not spread but is more than 2cm across.
Stage 3 - the cancer has possibly spread to surrounding lymph nodes and also into the tissue below the skin.
Stage 4 - in the final stage, cancer has spread to other body part and this occurs very rarely with basal cell or squamous skin cancers.
Diagnosis of Skin Cancer
The skin is thoroughly examined for seeing dry patches, growths or moles. Sometimes a dermoscope is also used for better viewing of the skin. Biopsy is also used for diagnosing skin cancer that is safe and quick to perform. Some other tests may also be required if melanoma is diagnosed. Some of these include -
Treatment of Skin Cancer
There are many treatments for skin cancer. A dermatologist selects treatment after considering the following -
After considering the above, your dermatologist will choose 1 or more of the following treatments for skin cancer.
Freezing - your doctor may destroy actinic keratoses and some small, early skin cancers by freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). The dead tissue sloughs off when it thaws.
Excisional surgery - this type of treatment may be appropriate for any type of skin cancer. Your doctor cuts out (excises) the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin. A wide excision - removing extra normal skin around the tumor - may be recommended in some cases.
Mohs surgery - this procedure is for larger, recurring or difficult-to-treat skin cancers, which may include both basal and squamous cell carcinomas. It’s often used in areas where it’s necessary to conserve as much skin as possible, such as on the nose.
During Mohs surgery, your doctor removes the skin growth layer by layer, examining each layer under the microscope, until no abnormal cells remain. This procedure allows cancerous cells to be removed without taking an excessive amount of surrounding healthy skin.
Curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy - after removing most of a growth, your doctor scrapes away layers of cancer cells using a device with a circular blade (curet). An electric needle destroys any remaining cancer cells. In a variation of this procedure, liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze the base and edges of the treated area. These simple, quick procedures may be used to treat basal cell cancers or thin squamous cell cancers.
Radiation therapy - radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be an option when cancer can’t be completely removed during surgery.
Chemotherapy - in chemotherapy, drugs are used to kill cancer cells. For cancers limited to the top layer of skin, creams or lotions containing anti-cancer agents may be applied directly to the skin. Systemic chemotherapy can be used to treat skin cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.
Photodynamic therapy - this treatment destroys skin cancer cells with a combination of laser light and drugs that makes cancer cells sensitive to light.
Biological therapy - biological treatments stimulate your immune system in order to kill cancer cells.
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions".
"The purpose of our lives is to be happy" - Dalai Lama