Melanoma: The Deadliest Skin Cancer
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, because it tends to spread if its not treated early.
This cancer starts in the melanocytes cells in the epidermis that make pigment.
About 100,350 new melanomas are diagnosed each year.
Risk factors for melanoma include:
- Having fair skin, light eyes, freckles, or red or blond hair
- Having a history of blistering sunburns
- Being exposed to sunlight or tanning beds
- Living closer to the equator or at a higher elevation
- Having a family history of melanoma
- Having many moles or unusual-looking moles
- Having a weakened immune system
Melanoma can develop within a mole that you already have, or it can pop up as a new dark spot on your skin.
This cancer can form anywhere on your body, but it most often affects areas that have had sun exposure, such as the back, legs, arms, and face. Melanomas can also develop on the soles of your feet, palms of your hands, or fingernail beds.
Signs to watch out for include:
- A mole that changes in color, size, or how it feels
- A mole that bleeds
Skin Cancer In Cats Diagnosis
If your veterinarian suspects skin cancer, they will want to take a sample of the area, so that it can be examined under a microscope. This can be done by collecting some cells with a needle and syringe, called a fine needle aspiration /needle biopsy.
Sometimes, an FNA doesnt provide enough information and your vet may recommend sedating or anesthetizing your cat to cut more of the tumour away.
These samples are then sent to a lab for analysis Your vet may also want to take samples from your cats lymph nodes and take some x-rays , to see if the cancer has spread. Blood work is also useful to determine if there is any damage to your cats insides and to help choose the best treatment plan.
What Changes In The Skin Occur Due To Exposure To The Sun
Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces. People think a glowing complexion means good health, but skin color obtained from being in the sun can actually speed up the effects of aging and increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily in addition to taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you’re young, it will definitely show later in life. The sun can also cause issues for your eyes, eyelids, and the skin around the eyes.
Changes in the skin related to sun exposure:
- Precancerous and cancerous skin lesions caused by loss of the skin’s immune function.
- Benign tumors.
- Fine and coarse wrinkles.
- Freckles; discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation; and sallowness, yellow discoloration of the skin.
- Telangiectasias, the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin.
- Elastosis, the destruction of the elastic tissue causing lines and wrinkles.
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Vera Heydendael Md Phd
Skin cancer has been on the rise for years for different reasons. Increased tanning, low awareness and more sun exposure during holidays.
Early detection is the key to treating it. The earlier it is found, the more treatment options there are.
Make sure to self-check your whole body every 3 months if you have more than 50 moles. In other cases, do it at least twice per year.
KNOW YOUR SKIN
How Do You Know If A Spot Is Skin Cancer
You can also read our guide on how to check your skin regularly, if you want to learn more about how to form a skin checking routine for yourself.
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Treatment Options For Skin Cancer
The goal of any skin cancer treatment is to remove the cancer before it has a chance to spread. If the skin cancer has spread to nearby tissues or organs, treating the cancer becomes more difficult. If it hasnt spread, though, treating skin cancer is often very successful.
Treatment options include:
- Surgery. Surgically removing the cancerous spot is a common option. In some cases, the spot can be removed easily in a doctors office. More advanced cases may require in-depth surgery.
- Cryosurgery. This type of surgery freezes the affected skin, killing the cancerous cells. Over time, the dead skin cells fall off.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy uses a persons immune system to target and destroy cancer. In the case of skin cancer, a medicated cream is applied to the cancerous area. The immune system then works to destroy the cancer.
- Chemotherapy. If skin cancer has progressed beyond the skin, chemotherapy can help target and kill any cancer cells surgery cant remove. Chemotherapy comes in several forms, including oral medication, injected shots, and IV infusions. It can even be applied to the skin.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation seeks out and destroys cancer cells. Radiation is used to treat a larger area, or an area thats too difficult to treat with surgery.
- In this type of therapy, a chemical is applied to the skin cancer. After staying on the skin for many hours, the skin is exposed to a special light, destroying the cancer cells.
What Are The Risk Factors For Skin Cancer
People burn or tan depending on their skin type, the time of year, and how long they are exposed to UV rays.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but people with certain characteristics are at greater risk
- A lighter natural skin color.
- Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
- Blue or green eyes.
- Certain types and a large number of moles.
- A family history of skin cancer.
- A personal history of skin cancer.
- Older age.
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How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
Skin cancer is suspected by its appearance on the skin. The diagnosis must be confirmed with a biopsy. This involves taking a sample of the tissue, which is then placed under a microscope and examined by a dermatopathologist, a doctor who specializes in examining skin cells. Sometimes a biopsy can remove all of the cancer tissue and no further treatment is needed.
Skin Cancer Affects 3 Million People A Year Here’s How To Do Your Best To Avoid Being One Of Them
Medically reviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Liotta
Skin cancer is the most-common cancer in the world. In fact, one American in five will get skin cancer by the time they turn 70.
The good news is that it’s also highly preventable and treatable. We reached out to Dr. Elizabeth Liotta, a dermatologist and member of the HealthyWomen Women’s Health Advisory Council, to find out more about this common disease.
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Prognosis For Skin Cancer
It is not possible for a doctor to predict the exact course of a disease. However, your doctor may give you the likely outcome of the disease. If detected early, most skin cancers are successfully treated.
Most non-melanoma skin cancers do not pose a serious risk to your health but a cancer diagnosis can be a shock. If you want to talk to someone see your doctor. You can also call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Myth : After A Long Dark Winter Its Not So Bad To Enjoy A Little Bit Of Sun Without Sunscreen For Once
Fred Hutch is based in Seattle, a city famous for its seasonal gloom. And Seattleites can vouch: There is no sight as glorious after a dark and rainy Northwest winter as a sunny blue sky. On the first warm days of the year, we crawl out of our winter hiding places, burst out of our GoreTex exoskeletons and throw our exposed flesh into the welcome rays.
Thereâs nothing wrong with enjoying the sunshine, Lee said. But slap on that sunscreen first. Getting a sunburn, even infrequently, boosts your risk of melanoma.
âPeople donât realize that sporadic sun exposure can really cause a lot of damage,â Lee said. âThe problem is people very naturally feel like they havenât seen sun all year, or they go on vacation to Hawaii or the Southwest, and they feel like they donât really need sun protection. And they get fried.â
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Sunburn Treatment And Relief
For Adults: 5 Ways to Treat a Sunburn
1. Act Fast to Cool It Down
If youre near a cold pool, lake or ocean, take a quick dip to cool your skin, but only for a few seconds so you dont prolong your exposure. Then cover up and get out of the sun immediately. Continue to cool the burn with cold compresses. You can use ice to make ice water for a cold compress, but dont apply ice directly to the sunburn. Or take a cool shower or bath, but not for too long, which can be drying, and avoid harsh soap, which might irritate the skin even more.
2. Moisturize While Skin Is Damp
While skin is still damp, use a gentle moisturizing lotion . Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.
3. Decrease the Inflammation
If it is safe for you to do so,;take;a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug , such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin at the first sign of sunburn to help with discomfort and inflammation, says Dr. Brackeen, who practices at the Skin Cancer Institute in Lubbock, Texas. You can continue with the NSAIDs as directed on the label until the burn feels better. You can also use an over-the-counter 1 percent cortisone cream as directed for a few days to help calm redness and swelling. Aloe vera may also soothe mild burns and is generally considered safe. Continue with cool compresses to help discomfort, wear loose, soft, breathable clothing to avoid further skin irritation and stay out of the sun entirely until the sunburn heals.
4. Replenish Your Fluids
The Facts The Risks What You Can Do
Sunburn hurts you in more ways than one. The danger goes far beyond any short-term pain, redness and discomfort, because after the sunburn fades, lasting damage remains.
Sunburn is bad news, but the good news is that its totally preventable. And the best time to start is today.
Dont feel the burn!
YOUR RISKof developing potentially deadly melanomaDOUBLESwith a history of 5 or more sunburns.
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How Is Cancer On The Scalp Treated
Potential treatments for skin cancer on your scalp include:
- Surgery. Your doctor will remove the cancerous growth and some of the skin around it, to make sure that they removed all the cancer cells. This is usually the first treatment for melanoma. After surgery, you may also need reconstructive surgery, such as a skin graft.
- Mohs surgery. This type of surgery is used for large, recurring, or hard-to-treat skin cancer. Its used to save as much skin as possible. In Mohs surgery, your doctor will remove the growth layer by layer, examining each one under a microscope, until there are no cancer cells left.
- Radiation. This may be used as a first treatment or after surgery, to kill remaining cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy. If your skin cancer is only on the top layer of skin, you might be able to use a chemotherapy lotion to treat it. If your cancer has spread, you might need traditional chemotherapy.
- Freezing. Used for cancer that doesnt go deep into your skin.
- . Youll take medications that will make cancer cells sensitive to light. Then your doctor will use lasers to kill the cells.
The outlook for skin cancer on your scalp depends on the specific type of skin cancer:
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will examine your child’s skin. Tell the healthcare provider:
When you first noticed the skin problem
If it oozes fluid or bleeds, or gets crusty
If its changed in size, color, or shape
If your child has pain or itching
Tell the healthcare provider if your child has had skin cancer in the past, and if other your family members have had skin cancer.
Your child’s healthcare provider will likely take a small piece of tissue from a mole or other skin mark that may look like cancer. The tissue is sent to a lab. A doctor called a pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope. He or she may do other tests to see if cancer cells are in the sample. The biopsy results will likely be ready in a few days or a week. Your child’s healthcare provider will tell you the results. He or she will talk with you about other tests that may be needed if cancer is found.
What Age Does Skin Cancer Commonly Develop
The older you get, the higher your chance for developing skin cancer. About half of all Americans will develop either BCC or SCC at least once by the time theyre 65. The average age of a melanoma diagnosis is 63, notes the American Cancer Society.
But melanoma is also one of the most frequently occurring cancers in young adults, especially women. Overall, melanoma occurs more frequently in women than in men before age 50. By age 65, twice as many men than women have melanoma. Rates triple by age 80.
Long-term exposure to the suns UV rays increases a persons chances of developing skin cancer. Artificial UV light, as found in indoor tanning beds, is also a culprit. It accounts for approximately of skin cancer each year in the United States, estimates a 2014 review and meta-analysis.
The Skin Cancer Foundation goes on to report that indoor tanning beds account for:
- 245,000 cases of BCC
- 168,000 cases of SCC
- 6,200 cases of melanoma
Any history of tanning bed use increases the risk of BCC before age 40 by 69 percent.
Although were more educated and aware of skin cancer risks, the number of new cases has been climbing for 30 years even among younger Americans. In the United States, cases of BCC and SCC among men and women under age 40 are increasing. New cases in children are also on the rise.
Myth : Tanning Beds Are Safer Than The Sun
Actually, the opposite is true: Devices like tanning beds and sun lamps can emit higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation than the sun, including both UVA and UVB radiation. UV radiation of any type increases your cancer risk, and the more you get, the higher your risk.
âTanning booths increase your risk of melanoma a ridiculous amount because they use really unnatural levels of UV light that youâre never exposed to in nature,â Lee said, referring to one of the most deadly types of skin cancer. Only 1 percent of people diagnosed each year with skin cancer have melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, but itâs responsible for most skin cancer deaths.
A 2003 study of tanning facilities in North Carolina found that the average amount of UVA radiation emitted by the beds in the study was four times higher than whatâs emitted by the noontime sun, and the average UVB radiation level was nearly twice as high as the sun. The study also found that patrons were commonly in the beds for far longer than U.S. Food and Drug Administration-recommended limits for exposure to such dangerously high radiation .
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What Causes Cancer To Form On Your Scalp
The main cause of all types of skin cancer is sun exposure. Your scalp is one of your body parts exposed most to the sun, especially if you are bald or have thin hair. That means its one of the more common spots for skin cancer.
Other potential causes of skin cancer on your scalp include using a tanning bed and having had radiation treatment on your head or neck area.
The best way to prevent skin cancer on your scalp is to protect your scalp when you go into the sun:
- Wear a hat or other head covering whenever possible.
- Spray sunscreen on your scalp.
Other ways to help prevent skin cancer on your scalp are:
- Avoid using tanning beds.
- Limit your time in the sun.
- Check your scalp regularly to spot any potential cancerous spots early. This can help stop precancerous lesions from turning into cancer or stop skin cancer from spreading. You can use a mirror to look at the back and top of your scalp more thoroughly.
How Do I Know If I Need To See The Doctor If I Have A Mole Or A Discoloration On My Skin
When it comes to suspicious spots on your skin, warning signs of cancer can include itching, bleeding, pain, rapid growth or significant changes in size or color over a few months and should be checked out by a dermatologist. Having a yearly skin check can help ensure that any changes or warning signs on your skin are detected early.