Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. People who have fair skin and get sunburn easily are more prone in contracting skin cancer. Other factors that cause skin cancer are those who have frequent industrial x-ray exposure, scarring due to burns and illness, exposure to coal tar and arsenic, and genetics.
Cancer is where a kind of cell grows unrestricted in an unsystematic manner which can upset and replace normal tissues and their functions. There are three main types of skin cancer namely Basal Cell Carcinoma, Melanoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Both Basal Cell and Squamous Cell are treatable. Melanoma can be cured if detected early but if it is only identified in the late stages, Melanoma can be fatal.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is a general skin cancer and occurs on the neck, hands and head in the form of red patch or as a tiny and fleshy bump. However, this does not mean that other parts of the body cannot get affected. This type of cancer is usually found in people with fair skin and do not grow rapidly. It takes months to years for one to grow of one-half inch in diameter. If this cancer is untreated, the cancer will bleed and scab over and heal and this cycle is repeated continuously. Damage can be caused when this cancer extend beneath the skin to the bone and nerves.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most general skin cancer and similar to Basal Cell, this type of cancer is found mostly on fair skinned people. This cancer is distinctive as it is located at the edge of the ears, face, mouth and lips and may appear as a bump or as a scaly and red patch. Squamous Cell can spread to other parts of the body and hence, it is vital to get treatment as soon as possible. The cure rate for both Squamous Cell and Basal Cell Carcinomas is more than 95%.
Melanoma is the cancer of the pigment which produces cells (melanocytes) in the skin. The norm is whereby the melanocytes are located in the outer layer of the skin and produce brown pigment melanin. This production is responsible for the color of the skin. Melanoma, in other words are melanocytes that have turned cancerous and invade other issues. Among all skin cancers, the malignant melanoma proves to be most fatal but if detected in its early stage, this cancer is curable.
Melanoma can start developing nearby and in a mole or a dark spot. So when one has moles, it is important to see if there is any changes to the moles so as to determine if it is a sign of melanoma or not. In other words, people who many moles should be aware as they are more at risk in developing melanoma.
Melanoma can grow on our soles and palms, in the mouth, under our nails and on the genitalia. Other than assessing the moles from time to time, other warning symptoms of melanoma are scaly and bleeding bumps and feeling pain and itchiness.
Skin biopsy can determine if one has cancer or not and there are several alternatives in treating the cancer. However, different type of skin cancer require different sort of treatment. The appropriate treatment is also determined in accordance to its locations and the individual’s requirements.
Surgical excision, curettage and electrodessication are all surgical using electrical treatments that use the method of burning or scuffing away the tumor. Cryosurgery on the other hand too can be used by freezing a certain area with liquid nitrogen. Mohs micrographic surgery is another method whereby the whole tumor can be removed by involving a little bit of the skin.
Radiation therapy and photodynamic therapy use chemical that can be applied to the skin after being exposed to any light. In addition to all these, topical chemotherapy products can be applied in treating skin cancer.
In spite of all these advance medical science that can cure skin cancers, the best way however is prevention. One should prevent all risks of contracting skin cancer by applying sunscreen and wear protective clothing such as sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat. In addition, a healthy diet of Vitamin D and constant examining for any changes on your body can help detect early stages of skin cancer.