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How Is Skin Cancer Caused

Other Cancers On The Face

Skin Cancer: What Causes it and Who is at Risk? – Mayo Clinic

A few other rare skin cancers that might happen on the face:

  • Lymphoma of the skin is an uncommon type of white blood cell cancer.
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma is cancer caused by a herpes virus in immunosuppressed patients that causes skin lesions on the face. They look like painless purplish spots.
  • Skin adnexal tumors is a rare cancer type that starts in hair follicles or skin glands.
  • Sarcomas are tumors of the connective tissuesspecifically the fat, nerves, bone, skin, and muscles 80% of which occur in the face, head, or neck.
  • Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma is an uncommon soft-tissue sarcoma that can happen on the face.

Most Common Source Of Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer is caused primarily by the UV rays of the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun without protection can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Not only do UV rays pose a significant risk of skin cancer, but they can be equally dangerous to the health of ones eyes. Ultraviolet A and B rays can affect the eyes and such exposure can lead to cataracts and even eyelid cancer on the surrounding skin. This is why our dermatologic skin cancer surgeons and board-certified dermatologists urge our patients to limit their sun exposure and as a lifestyle choice. The less exposure the better.

Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

Skin cancers arent all identical, and they may not cause many symptoms. Still, unusual changes to your skin can be a warning sign for the different types of cancer. Being alert for changes to your skin may help you get a diagnosis earlier.

Watch out for symptoms, including:

  • skin lesions: A new mole, unusual growth, bump, sore, scaly patch, or dark spot develops and doesnt go away.
  • asymmetry: The two halves of the lesion or mole arent even or identical.
  • border: The lesions have ragged, uneven edges.
  • color: The spot has an unusual color, such as white, pink, black, blue, or red.
  • diameter: The spot is larger than one-quarter inch, or about the size of a pencil eraser.
  • evolving: You can detect that the mole is changing size, color, or shape.

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Do Some People Have A Higher Risk Of Developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer

Yes. The key risk factors for getting this skin cancer are listed below. A risk factor is anything that increases your risk of developing a disease.

While having one or more risk factors for SCC of the skin increases your risk of developing it, some people who get this skin cancer dont seem to have any risk factors. People of all colors get this skin cancer, including people of African, Asian, and Latin descent.

If you find a spot on the skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist to find out what it is. Youll find out how this skin cancer is diagnosed and treated at, Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin: Diagnosis and treatment.

1 American Academy of Dermatology. Indoor tanning fact sheet. Last accessed January 31, 2019.

2 Omland SH, Ahlstrom MG, et al. Risk of skin cancer in patients with HIV: A Danish nationwide cohort study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 79:689-95.

ImagesGetty Images

ReferencesAnadolu-Brasie R, Patel AR, et al., Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. In: Nouri K, et al. Skin Cancer. McGraw Hill Medical, China, 2008: 86-114.

Nadhan KS, Chung CL, et al. Risk factors for keratinocyte carcinoma skin cancer in nonwhite individuals: A retrospectiveaAnalysis. J Am Acad Dermatol , doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2019.01.038.

Omland SH, Ahlstrom MG, et al. Risk of skin cancer in patients with HIV: A Danish nationwide cohort study. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018 79:689-95.

Treatment For Skin Cancer

What causes skin cancer

If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you may have multiple options for treatment. Based on the specifics of your case, your doctor will recommend your best course of action. The suggested methods for fighting the cancer may include:

  • Cryotherapy. In cryotherapy, a doctor freezes and kills precancerous or cancerous skin cells using liquid nitrogen. This technique is most often used to treat minor basal or squamous carcinomas or precancerous skin conditions.

  • Surgery. Different types of skin cancer may be removed by surgery. Surgery can be excisional – simply cutting out a cancerous area and the skin surrounding it – or may involve meticulous removal of layers of skin.

  • Radiation therapy. In radiation therapy, energy beams are used to kill cancerous cells. Radiation therapy may help finish off a cancer that was not fully removed by surgery, and can also be instrumental in cases that dont allow for surgery.

  • Chemotherapy. This type of therapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. To treat some cases of skin cancer, chemotherapy may be applied locally through topical creams or lotions. It may also be administered by IV to target multiple body parts at once.

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, involves boosting the immune system to fight cancer cells. With the help of strengthening medicines, the immune system may be better prepared to kill cancerous cells.

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Major Types Of Treatments

Although surgical modalities remain the mainstay of treatment, new research and fresh innovation are still required to reduce morbidity and mortality . There has been innovation in skin cancer treatment in the last few years than in the previous 30 years . Here, we are not discussing treatment methodology in details but just an outline of currently applicable standard treatments for skin cancer is given .

  • Surgery: Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be successfully treated with surgery and early-stage melanomas are also cured. Thin layers are removed until no more cancer cells are seen.

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or particles to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. It is used when cancer is widely spread, recurred and surgery is not possible.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapeutic drugs are usually given as injection or taken by mouth as a pill. They travel through the bloodstream to all parts of the body and attack cancer cells and stop their growth by killing them or by stopping them from dividing.

  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is the emerging new type of treatment that stimulates a persons own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively.

  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to attack cancer cells. Targeted therapies usually cause less harm to normal cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy do.

  • What Causes Skin Cancer

    The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to sunlight, especially when it results in sunburn and blistering. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage the skin and, over time, lead to skin cancer. The UV light damages DNA in the skin and causes it to grow abnormally. Exposure to certain chemicals such as tar and coal can cause skin cancer for those with jobs that require them to frequently be in contact with these chemicals. Those with a weakened immune system also have an increased risk for skin cancer.

    Also Check: What Does Stage 3b Melanoma Mean

    Causes And Risk Factors

    Researchers do not know why certain cells become cancerous. However, they have identified some risk factors for skin cancer.

    The most important risk factor for melanoma is exposure to UV rays. These damage the skin cellsâ DNA, which controls how the cells grow, divide, and stay alive.

    Most UV rays come from sunlight, but they also come from tanning beds.

    Some other risk factors for skin cancer include:

    • A lot of moles: A person with more than 100 moles is more likely to develop melanoma.
    • Fair skin, light hair, and freckles: The risk of developing melanoma is higher among people with fair skin. Those who burn easily have an increased risk.
    • Family history:Around 10% of people with the condition have a family history of it.
    • Personal history: Melanoma is likelier to form in a person who has already had it. People who have had basal cell or squamous cell cancers also have an increased risk of developing melanoma.

    The best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer is to limit oneâs exposure to UV rays. A person can do this by using sunscreen, seeking shade, and covering up when outdoors.

    People should also avoid tanning beds and sunlamps to reduce their risk of skin cancer.

    It can be easy to mistake benign growths for skin cancer.

    The following skin conditions have similar symptoms to skin cancer:

    What To Think About

    Causes of Skin Cancer

    Precancer skin growths, such as actinic keratoses and Bowen’s disease, can develop into squamous cell skin cancer if they are not treated.

    You can find more information about skin cancer online at the:

    Recommended Reading: Basaloid Tumor

    Diagnosis Of Skin Cancer

    It is important to check your skin regularly and check with your doctor if you notice any changes.

    In the majority of cases, your GP will examine you, paying attention to any spots that may look suspicious. Your GP may perform a biopsy . In some cases your GP may refer you to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, if necessary.

    Do Some People Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Yes. The main risk factor for getting this skin cancer is:

    • UV-damaged skin caused by the sun or tanning beds. Each time you go outdoors without protecting your skin from the sun or use a tanning bed, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer.

    There are other risk factors for BCC, which include:

    • Color of your skin, hair, and eyes. This skin cancer develops in skin damaged by UV light, and skin is more easily damaged by UV light if you have one or more of the following:

    • Skin that burns easily and rarely tans
    • Sun-sensitive skin that freckles easily
    • Naturally blonde or red hair
    • Blue or green eyes
  • Sunburns. If youve had sunburns, especially blistering ones in your youth, you have a higher risk of developing this skin cancer.

  • Where you live. Living in an area that gets intense sunlight year-round, such as Florida or California, increases your risk of getting skin cancer. People who live at a high altitude also have an increased risk.

  • Previous skin cancer. If youve had any type of skin cancer, you have a greater risk of getting another one.

  • Weakened immune system. Anything that weakens your immune system increases your risk of getting this skin cancer. In fact, BCC is one of the cancers most likely to develop when the immune system weakens.If you received an organ transplant, the medication you take to prevent your body from rejecting the organ suppresses your immune system. This increases your risk of developing basal cell skin cancer greatly.

  • Xeroderma pigmentosum
  • Image

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    How The Government Of Canada Protects You

    The Public Health Agency of Canada monitors cancer in Canada. PHAC identifies trends and risk factors for cancer, develops programs to reduce cancer risks, and researches to evaluate risks from the environment and human behaviours. Health Canada also promotes public awareness about sun safety and the harmful effects of UV rays.

    Leading Causes Of Skin Cancer

    Are Skin Cancer Spots Itchy or Painful?

    You may be confronted with early warning signs of skin cancer and be completely unaware. You may even know someone who has been personally affected by skin cancer. You may have a loved one who is struggling with it presently. For all these reasons and more, it is essential to identify the leading causes of skin cancer to be aware and able to prevent it from developing.

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    Noncancerous Causes Of Skin Rash

    While some cancers can lead to a skin rash, rashes can also be caused by a variety of other much less dangerous sources.

    Most rashes are commonly harmless and unlikely to cause permanent damage. If you notice an unexplained rash suddenly appearing on your skin, visit a health care provider for advice and treatment.

    Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Treatment

    Many early-stage small basal cell cancers or squamous cell cancers can be removed by Mohs surgery, a technique that spares normal tissue through repeated intraoperative margin testing, removing only the cancer and leaving adjacent normal tissue. Tumors with nerve involvement, lymph node involvement or of a large size are not suitable for Mohs surgery. They require a multimodality approach to treatment, with formal surgical resection and adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy.

    Melanoma is more likely to spread, and aggressive surgical resection with wide margins is required, in addition to radiation and/or chemotherapy.

    Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

    Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer Surgery provides comprehensive surgical care and treatment for head and neck cancers. Our surgeons are at the leading edge of head and neck cancer treatment. You will benefit from the skilled care of head and neck surgeons, guiding clinical advancements in the field of head and neck cancer care.

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    Symptoms On Black And Brown Skin

    On dark skin, it may be easier to feel a lesion than see it. People with black skin may be more likely to find a lesion on a part of the body that has little exposure to the sun, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

    Skin cancer can affect people with any skin color, but those with brown or black skin are more likely to receive a diagnosis at a later stage. This may be due to a lack of awareness of how skin cancer appears on skin colors other than white.

    Anyone who notices an unusual change in their skin should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

    The medical community has developed two ways to spot the early symptoms of melanoma. This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

    A person can use the ABCDE method or the ugly duckling method.

    What Is Kaposis Sarcoma

    What causes skin cancer?

    Kaposis sarcoma is a rare form of malignant skin cancer caused by the human herpes virus 8 . In addition to the skin, mucous membranes and internal organs can also be affected. The tumor can be localized or appear in multiple locations.

    A distinction is made between two forms:

    • Kaposis sarcoma in HIV infection
    • Classic shape

    People with HIV / AIDS have a weakened immune system, which can make them infected with the virus that caused it. There are also cases in which the sarcoma develops from the use of immunosuppressive drugs. They ensure that the immune system is suppressed and thus cannot properly fend off an infection with the human herpes virus 8. Such drugs are used, for example, after an organ transplant or in the treatment of a chronic inflammatory disease.

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    Is Skin Cancer Genetic

    40-50% of Americans who live to the age of 65 will have skin cancer at least once. The most common types of skin cancer in the United States are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinomas. These are referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers and are generally the result of sun exposure. Learn more about the effects of UV exposure.

    Approximately one in 60 people will develop invasive, cutaneous melanoma during their lifetime. Malignant melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin. In fair-complexioned individuals worldwide, the majority of melanoma cases are related to environmental factors such as excessive ultraviolet radiation . However, about 5-10% of melanoma cases are inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. In other words, parents with a defined genetic mutation have a 50/50 chance to pass on the susceptibility to each of their children regardless of gender. Learn more about melanoma.

    Learn more about genetic testing or make an appointment with our experts at the Skin Cancer Program.

    How Can Uv Light Cause Skin Cancer

    Every time UV light hits our skin, it can damage some of the DNA inside our skins cells. The body tries to repair this damage.

    As UV light from the sun, indoor tanning equipment, or both, continues to hit our skin, the damage builds up. Eventually, it becomes too much for the body to repair. When the body cannot repair the damage, changes called mutations develop. When the mutations build up in the skin, we get skin cancer.

    The type of skin cancer we get depends on where the mutations develop in the skin. Basal cells are found deep inside the first layer of our skin, so we get basal cell carcinoma when mutations develop inside these cells.

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    What Causes Melanoma Skin Cancer

    Many risk factors for melanoma have been found, but its not always clear exactly how they might cause cancer.

    For example, while most moles never turn into a melanoma, some do. Researchers have found some gene changes inside mole cells that may cause them to become melanoma cells. But its still not known exactly why some moles become cancerous while most dont.

    DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes, which control how our cells function. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. But DNA affects more than just how we look.

    Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die:

    • Genes that help cells grow, divide, and stay alive are called oncogenes.
    • Genes that keep cell growth in check, repair mistakes in DNA, or cause cells to die at the right time are called tumor suppressor genes.

    Cancers can be caused by DNA mutations that keep oncogenes turned on, or that turn off tumor suppressor genes. These types of gene changes can lead to cells growing out of control. Changes in several different genes are usually needed for a cell to become a cancer cell.

    What You Need To Know

    Skin Cancer Signs &  Symptoms

    Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

    • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
    • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
    • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
    • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

    Theres more than meets the eye when it comes to skin cancer, so make sure you know all the facts. You can #SharetheFacts on social media by downloading images from our Skin Cancer Awareness Toolkit. For the latest news, visit our Press Room.

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