Hey there, skin cancer is one of the foremost common sorts of cancer within the US. At least one in five people get skin cancer in their lives.
When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, mainly from sunlight, the cells’ DNA could get damaged. Because of this, there could be mutations and abnormal growth in your skin cells, which multiply quickly to become malignant.
In this article, we will be discussing skin cancer– its types, causes, signs, symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures you can undertake. How many types of skin cancer are there? Can you stop them? We’ll be discussing all of this AND more…
Types of Skin Cancer
There are two types of skin cancer: carcinoma and melanoma. While there are other types of skin lesions that could potentially become cancerous, they’re not treated as skin cancer until they mutate.
1 – Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer
Basal cells are present within the skin and produce new cells because the old ones die. Basal cell carcinoma is that the commonest sort of carcinoma.
They make up the maximum amount of 80% of cancer cases. This sort of cancer usually shows abreast of your face or neck. The parts of the body most exposed to sunlight. It seems like a white lump or a brown, scaly patch.
Basal cell carcinoma may be a curable sort of cancer. It doesn’t typically spread to other parts of your body. But if you don’t catch on treated, it can destroy your skin, tissues, and even bone. It can even stop a specific part of your body from functioning properly.
Do you self-examine your skin? Have you ever noticed brown patches? Or white lumps? What did you do? Share your experiences with us within the comments.
2 – Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer
Squamous cell carcinoma is that the second most frequent sort of carcinoma. This type also occurs on body parts exposed to UV radiation from sunlight and tanning beds.
Squamous carcinoma, unlike basal cells, can spread to other parts of your body. Although the cancer cells grow at a way slower rate, they will appear in multiple parts of your body like the head, neck, chest, arms, and legs.
Squamous cell carcinoma is also curable. It usually appears as red, scaly lesions on the skin.
3 – Melanoma Skin Cancer
Melanoma only occurs in about 1% of skin cancer cases, but it’s the more dangerous form. If not detected early, it can be fatal. While it’s rare, it makes up the bulk of carcinoma deaths annually.
Melanoma begins in melanocytes, the pigment that gives your skin its color. This type of cancer can occur in any part of the body.
That being said, Melanoma will likely first develop on the chest and back of men, and the legs of women. Other common sites include your neck and face.
You would think having darkly pigmented skin would reduce your risk of melanoma, and you’re partly right. Your risk does decrease, but only on more common sites like the chest, back, and legs.
Anyone can get melanoma on their hands, feet, and even under the nails.
4 – Less Common Types of Skin Cancer
There are other less common types of skin cancer like:
This type develops from the cells that line your blood vessels. It appears as tumors on your skin or the within of your mouth, lungs, and even alimentary canal.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma:
As the name suggests, this sort of cancer starts within the merkel cells of your skin. Now, what are merkel cells?
These cells are found at the bottom of the highest layer of your skin. They share some features with hormone cells and nerve cells. This sort of cancer spreads quickly and may be quite difficult to treat once it starts multiplying.
More popularly referred to as the lymphoma of the skin, this sort starts in special white blood cells, which are the essential unit of your system. These white blood cells are called lymphocytes.
They are small bean-sized immune cells in your body. You’ll find them in your lymph nodes and tissues just like the spleen, bone marrow, and skin.
Skin Adnexal Tumors:
These are simply tumors that start within the hair follicles or skin glands. Before we move ahead, here’s another article you would possibly like.
Read and learn more about the 6 Best Vitamins for Skin – Vitamin E, B, D, C, A, and F.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
1 – UV Light from the Sun & Tanning Beds
We just learned how UV light from the sun can harm your skin. But that’s not the only way you can get skin cancer. Apart from exposure to sunlight, another source of UV radiation is a tanning bed.
If you expose your skin to tanning beds while getting fake tans, it could cause damage to your skin cells. This damage to the skin cells can mutate into cancer.
2 – Cancer Causing Chemicals
These chemicals are another reason behind skin cancers like carcinoma. Moles are generally benign but sometimes turn malignant and cause melanoma.
Your body doesn’t need to be exposed to UV radiation for you to get melanoma. It occurs in parts of the body that typically aren’t hit by sunlight.
Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer
1 – Open Sore
One of the biggest red flags associated with skin cancer is an open sore that won’t heal. If the sore keeps bleeding but don’t heal completely, it’s a sign of carcinoma.
Open wounds such as this can be aggressive and quickly turn into skin cancer.
2 – Pink Bumps
Another sign of skin cancer, particularly carcinoma, is a pink bump on your skin. Sometimes, it can also be in the form of reddish or brown flat patches on your skin.
3 – Asymmetrical Moles
Melanoma can be identified if you have a mole that is asymmetrical. You can check for melanoma using the ABCDE method, which stands for Asymmetry, Irregular Border, Color variations, Diameter greater than 6mm, and Elevated surface. Itching and bleeding is another indication.
Treatments of Skin Cancer
1 – Cryotherapy
In cryotherapy, an extreme cold solution, like liquid nitrogen, is used to freeze the part of the skin affected. The cancer cells are fenced in by ice crystals. The tissue is then removed as the skin thaws.
One study showed around 97% of non-melanoma cancers were successfully treated using cryotherapy. It’s a safe and low-cost method to treat skin cancer.
2 – Excisional Surgery
Excisional surgery is when the part of the skin with cancer growth will be cut out, along with some of the healthy skin around it. This is usually done for moles and lesions, but tumors can also be removed in a similar manner.
3 – Mohs Surgery
This is a very effective treatment and can sometimes be successful for melanoma. In this surgery, each layer of the cancer growth is removed and examined under a microscope. This procedure continues until no more abnormal cells can be detected.
It is best used for situations where conserving the tissue is important, and also in cases where the chances of a recurrence are high.
4 – Chemotherapy
This is an aggressive drug treatment that seeks to destroy the growing cancer cells in your body. But there are some side effects including hair loss, diarrhea, and weight loss.
This treatment is used along with other forms of therapy and ensures cancer doesn’t spread any further. If your cancer is detected at a later stage, chemotherapy can also be used for pain relief.
5 – Radiation
Radiation therapy is a form of treatment where focused radiation beams are used to destroy cancer cells. It also comes with side effects such as hair loss and fatigue. This treatment is intensive and lasts up to 10 weeks on nearly a daily basis.
One radiation session can last up to 30 minutes. It’s primarily used for cases in which the cancer is in an advanced stage. It’s also used in cases where the tumor cells need to be reduced before surgery.
Prevention of Skin Cancer
Honestly, there is no sure way of preventing skin cancer. But you’ll do certain things to scale back your risk. Like, limit your exposure to the sun, as well as tanning beds.
Other Measures You Can Take Include:
Cancer is one of the most challenging diseases. The scary part is we don’t know what causes it.
You can only rely on early detection and preventive methods. Like, stop eating foods that increase your risk.
Read Top 12 Cancer Causing Foods – You Should Try to Avoid in Your Diet. You can also try Top 12 Common Cancer Signs Mostly Ignored by Women. Go ahead, check it out.
Better yet, read both, and learn more about how to prevent cancer. Did you know about these skin cancer signs before reading this article? Let us know in the comments section!