Skin Cancer

Overview

Skin cancer refer to a group of diseases marked by uncontrolled growth and spread of skin cells. Incidences of skin cancer has increased substantially over the last few decades. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer. There are three main types of skin cancers: basal-cell skin cancer (BCC), squamous-cell skin cancer (SCC) and melanoma.
Skin cancer mainly affect areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer. Prolonged sun exposure causes basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer; episodes of severe sunburns can cause melanoma. Other skin cancer causes are – repeated exposure to X-ray, scars from burns and occupational exposure to certain chemicals.

Risk Factors

  • People with certain skin conditions such as Solar keratosis, Xeroderma pigmentosum, Psoriasis treatment, and Eczema treatment are more likely to develop skin cancer.
  • Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Symptoms of melanoma appear as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in color, size or shape. Melanoma can develop on skin not normally exposed to the sun.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma appear as thickened, red scaly spot that may bleed easily. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common of skin cancer. Symptoms include red, pale or pearly in color lump in skin.
  • Indians are better protected against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays due to their brown skins, and higher concentration of melanin. Reducing factors under your control such as limiting exposure to direct sunlight may help lower your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. Regular skin examinations may help spot a developing skin cancer early, when it is most treatable.

Diagnosis

Skin cancer is diagnosed by physical examination and biopsy.

  • Skin Examination – Doctor may look at your skin to determine whether the skin changes are likely to be skin cancer. Further testing may be suggested to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Skin biopsy – Your doctor may take a sample of suspicious-looking skin for lab testing. A biopsy can suggest whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have.

Treatment Options

Treatment of Skin cancer depends factors like age and general health, the type and size of cancer and the extent to which it has spread on other parts of the body.

Types of treatment include:

  • Surgery
  • Freezing
  • Scraping
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy