Of the many types of cancer one may suffer from, it is cancer skin that is predominant in the United States. In fact, about one in three new cancer cases is diagnosed with skin cancer in US where it is predicted that about a million Americans were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2007.
Skin cancer is characterized with a malignant growth on the outer layers of the skin. As it is clearly visible, skin cancer is usually detected at its early stages and thus, has a better chance of getting treated. Skin cancer is linked to over exposure to the sun for long periods while it is the high influx of UV rays in the atmosphere that increases the risk of cancer.
Cancer skin is broadly classified into:
• Basal cell carcinoma which is the most common form of skin cancer. It is associated with a hereditary factor and does not spread in the body. It remains confined in its starting point where surgery or topical chemotherapy is effective options for its treatment.
• Squamous cell carcinoma may attack both the outer skin and internal organs. Its cause is once again, excessive exposure to sunlight, along with other factors.
• Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer where if not treated early can be dangerous. However, fortunately, it is the least prevalent form of skin cancer.
Besides these three types of cancer skin, the other uncommon forms of skin cancer are Merkel cell Carcinoma, Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
The common symptoms of cancer skin are incurable changes in the skin, ulcers and sores and discoloration and changes you find in existing moles.
• Swollen, pearly and smooth bumps on exposed parts of the body are symptoms of basal cell carcinoma where you may find occasional vessels in the tumor. Sometimes crusting and bleeding in the tumor develops and is mistaken for an incurable sore.
• Exposed skin show reddening, scaling and a thickened patch to suggest squamous cell carcinoma. There may be ulceration and bleeding, and if not treated properly, a large lump may form in the affected area.
• Brown or black lesions depict melanoma. Any changes in size, shape, elevation or color of moles should be investigated as it may signify melanoma.
Cancer skin treatment:
• Skin cancer in the early stages can be cured with radiation therapy or cryotherpay. However this option is not as successful as surgery.
• Elimination of lesions where edges are free of tumor cells is an effective treatment for both early and high risk skin cancer.
• Skin cancer in areas with limited excess skin like the face is best treated with Mohs microsurgery, where the smallest quantity of tissue is removed.
• Cancer skin that has spread has to be treated with chemotherapy or further surgical procedures.