In the Human body skin is a multi-layered organ and skin is the first line of defense in our body that is exposed to many physical and chemical environments.
There are many reasons for skin cancer not only sunlight exposure. so in this article, you will get to know all about What is Skin cancer, its types, causes, treatment, and symptoms of skin cancer. so read this article till the end.
What is Skin cancer:-
Skin cancer is a common form of cancer and it can easily be treated if detected early. it is due to the locally destructive cancerous growth of epidermal cells. but on the basis of their types and stages, some skin cancers can metastasize. for example, they can spread to other parts of the body and can become life-threatening.
its symptoms vary on the basis of skin cancer type. there is scope for treatment if an early prognosis of the ailment is there. now let’s learn the different types of skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer:-
In a broader way, there are two types of skin cancer
These are the common forms of skin cancer including basal and squamous cells. it can be treatable if diagnosed in the early stage. these develop on the part of the body which gets maximum sunlight such as the head and neck. squamous cell carcinoma is most common in immunosuppressed people and has chances of distant spread.
If we talk about what is Melanoma then the answer is it is a type of cancer that can become life-threatening because it metastasizes more than basal and squamous cell carcinoma. it originates from melanocytes or the cell that produce skin color. sometimes benign moles developing from melanocytes on the back and chest of a man and in a woman’s legs can become cancerous.
Apart from these, there are some other types of skin cancer
- Merkel cell skin cancer
- Kaposi Sarcoma
- Cutaneous lymphomas
Skin cancer symptoms vary depending on its type.
Symptoms or Signs of Skin Cancer:-
Symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma:-
- Shiny pink or red bump, Pearly
- Pink outgrowth or lesions are crusted at the center with raised borders
- Reddish patch, it might be itchy but not painful.
- White or yellow waxy area of skin that looks like a scar.
Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma:-
- An open sore that stays on for weeks
- Bleeding scaly red patches that have irregular borders
- Wart-like growth
- A raised outgrowth with a rough surface that is slightly indented in the middle
Symptoms of Melanoma:-
- Large brownish spots with darker speckles
- A mole that changes color, size, and bleeds
- Painful lesions that itch or burn
- Small lesions with irregular borders that appear pink, white, blue-black, or blue
- Dark lesions on palms, fingertips, toes, soles, or mucous membranes lining the nose, mouth, vagina, or anus
Apart from this, there are some other signs of skin cancers
- Those have weak immune systems like those with AIDS, and with medication that suppresses natural immunity. also, those who went through organ transplants, etc can have Kaposi sarcoma which is a rare skin cancer forming in the blood vessels of the skin.
- Firm, shiny nodules appearing on or beneath the skin and in hair follicles causes Merkel cell carcinoma. These nodules are present on the head, neck, and trunk
- Sebaceous gland carcinoma occurs in the oil glands that appear hard and painless. They most often occur on the eyelid
- Actinic keratoses are crusty lesions caused by damage from UV light in the facial area, scalp, and back of the hands. They are also known as precancers because if left untreated, these conditions can turn into squamous cell carcinoma
Now will discuss its causes after reading all about the symptoms.
Causes of Skin Cancer:-
- DNA mutations are the most common reason for skin cancer which is induced by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. it affects the epidermis which is the outermost layer of the skin. if it is detected in its early stage then it can be controlled due to natural immunity. but with time it can grow into masses of malignant cells that develop into a tumors
- Basal cell carcinoma is caused due to sunlight exposure for a prolonged time. New cells lie beneath the squamous cells produced by basal cells. Harmful UV rays from the sun can damage the DNA of these cells and can cause uncontrollable cell growth.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is due to long-term exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. this type of cancer can occur within a scar or burn and can be caused by certain types of human papillomavirus.
There are many types of cancers such as melanoma whose causes are not clear yet. most of the skin moles do not turn into melanoma. lots of exposure to UV rays can be the big reason for melanoma. but melanomas develop in certain body parts which are not sunlight exposed.
Now will discuss the stages of skin cancer.
Different Stages of Skin Cancer:-
If it detects the stage of skin cancer then it helps in its treatment. early stage skin cancer is treatable. the doctor determines the stage of cancer after considering the factors which are following
- Tumor size
- It has spread to lymph nodes or not
- How much spread into the body parts?
So according to these factors, there are two categories of the staging of skin cancer one is nonmelanoma and melanoma
Nonmelanoma skin cancer stage:-
- 0:-The cancerous cells do not spread beyond the epidermis. epidermis is the skin’s outermost protective layer.
- I:- May spread to the dermis. but it should not be longer than 2 centimeters
- II:- Cancer is more than 2 centimeters in length but does not spread to the nearby lymph nodes
- III:-It is more than 3 centimeters and spread from the primary tumor to the nearby tissues or bones
- IV:- It is also more than 3 centimeters and spread to the nearby lymph nodes and organs much beyond the primary tumor site
Melanoma skin cancer stage:-
- 0:- Not penetrated below the epidermis
- I:- Penetration to the dermis may occur but it remains in a smaller size
- II:-Cancer has not spread beyond the primary tumor site but has grown big. It will be thicker and show some signs such as bleeding, flaking, and scaling
- III:- In this stage, cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or nearby tissues or skin.
- IV:- This stage is the most advanced stage where cancer spread to distant organs and tissues beyond the primary site.
Diagnose Skin Cancer:-
There are many tests and examinations done by doctors to diagnose skin cancer. skin biopsy confirms it. during this biopsy, the tumor region is numbed with a local anesthetic like lidocaine and then a small portion of the tumor is sliced away to send to the pathology for examination.
A diagnostic test will provide an accurate result if anyone misses out on any symptoms of skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Treatments:-
Skin cancer treatments depend on the types, and size of the tumor and the health of patients.
- Medicines:- For basal cell carcinoma the patient can apply ointments and gels to the affected area. these medicines stimulate the body’s immune system to produce interferon that attacks cancer cells. there are some side effects like irritation, skin redness, etc. These medicines are effective for superficial cancers but not applicable to those parts where the tumor has been removed.
- Electrodesiccation and Curettage:- it is a fast and inexpensive method that involves scraping the tumor region repeatedly with a curette and cauterizing its edge with an electric needle. but this process leaves a scar and the chances of recurrence are high.
- Surgical excision:- It has a maximum percentage of cure rate as it wholly removes the tumor by surgery and closes the wound edges with sutures. it is more expensive than EDC.
- Mohs Micrographic Surgery:- In certain skin cancers, the tumor margin is not defined, and normal cell preservation is crucial to maintain. For such a scenario, opting for this surgery is wise as it removes the tumor completely, and the re-examination of margins takes place to detect any residual cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy:- This treatment does not involve any cutting and removes cancerous cells effectively. The biggest disadvantage of this treatment is that it affects the normal cells and the cancerous cells. Therefore, one cannot test the radiation area to ensure the tumor is fully removed. Also, the radiation scars look worse with time.
There are some other treatments like PDT (Photodynamic therapy), laser surgery, oral medications, and many more.
Prevent Skin Cancer:-
It is essential to take some prevention that can lower the chances of skin cancer.
- Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, stay indoors during the peak hours
- Avoid using tanning beds and sun lamps
- Apply sunscreen with high SPF
- Wear the correct clothes and accessories to avoid the sun’s rays
- Examine the body for any abnormal color growth.
But after taking these measures anyone can notice some symptoms of skin cancer. so in that case you should consult the doctor immediately to treat this disease from an early stage
Risk Factors Associated With Skin Cancer:-
- UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds
- Immunosuppressed individual one who suffering from HIV
- Exposure to chemicals like arsenic, x- rays, etc
- Existing skin cancer patients
- Older people
Hope after reading this article you all got to know how individuals can take care of their skin health.
Q1:- What are the first signs of skin cancer?
Ans:- The appearance of a lump or patch on the skin that doesn’t heal after a few weeks
Q2:- Why does skin cancer start?
Ans:- Too much exposure to sunlight
Q3:- Can skin cancer be cured?
Ans:- If they’re treated before they have a chance to spread
Q4:- Is skin cancer serious?
Ans:- More advanced cases of melanoma can be Serious