Skin Cancer On The Face: Types And Prevention
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology. He is a clinical professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, and co-founder and practicing dermatologist at the Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Colorado.
Because it is exposed to the sun more than other parts of the body, the skin on your face is especially vulnerable to skin cancer. And skin cancer on the face can be mistaken for other conditionssuch as age spots, pimples, scarring, acne, styes, and cysts.
Skin cancers that tend to occur more often on the face include actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. The face is also a common site of melanoma and there are several other lesser-common skin cancers that can affect the face. The risk of getting skin cancers on the face increases with high amounts of sun exposure and other ultraviolet light exposure.
About 75% of non-melanoma skin cancers occur on the head or neck.
Skin cancer occurs when cells in the skin’s layers become damaged in ways that cause them to look and act differently than the normal healthy cells around them and start to grow out of control. UV rays play a major role in damaging cells by causing gene mutations.
You can watch for signs of skin cancer on your face by paying attention to new or odd-looking spots or feeling growths, splotches, or moles.
Skin Cancer Hiding In Tattoos
According to a Harvard Medical School article, Robert H. Shmerling, MD, German doctors described the case of a young man who wanted to remove a large, multi-colored tattoo from his arms and chest. This man eventually had a mole removed after 47 laser sessions to remove the tattoo and it was indeed stage II melanoma.1 This was not the first case that melanoma was found inside a tattoo.2
What Are The Abcdefs
- A stands for asymmetry. If you drew a line down the middle of the spot, one half would not be the same shape as the other half.
- B stands for border irregularity. The edges of the area are not sharp and clear, but ragged and different in areas of the periphery.
- C stands for color variation in the lesion. An abnormal mole or spot contains multiple different colors, ranging from tan, brown or black to white, red or even blue. A normal pigment cell birthmark or mole usually is uniformly colored or has two shades of a color arranged regularly, one shade in the center and one on the periphery symmetrically.
- D stands for increased diameter. The abnormal spot is wider than the top of a pencil eraser more than 6 mm in diameter.
- E stands for evolution. Over weeks or months, the spot has grown, changed shape or color, or changed in texture or internal structure.
- F is for “funny or funky,” says Dr. Paragh. ” ‘F’ really stands for the ugly duckling sign, which tells you to watch out for anything that looks very different from anything else on your skin, he adds. Sometimes that can help you catch problem spots a lot earlier than you might be able to otherwise.” This highlights the importance of considering lesions which look very different from other lesions, even if they do not fulfil the above criteria.
What is melanoma?
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A Mole Is Itching Or Bleeding For No Reason
“Another sign is if a mole itches or bleeds for no reason,” Arthur said. “It’s one thing if you catch the mole on your backpack strap and then it bleeds. That is pretty clear-cut trauma and that’s not worrisome. But if a mole just bleeds and you don’t recall injuring the area, or if a mole is persistently itchy, that would always be something to have checked.”
Melanomas can happen on parts of your body that never see the light of day, Garner explained.
“That is not something I think the public has been made very aware of,” she said.
“Although sun exposure is definitely a risk factor for melanoma, there are also some genetic mutations that can lead to it,” Arthur added. “And so melanoma can occur in the retina, it can occur on the vulva of women, it can occur in the penis in men. You can see it in the peri-anal area. It can occur under a nail or on the bottom of your foot, even.”
The moral of the story: When you perform skin checks, don’t neglect the parts of you that aren’t sun-exposed. Arthur recommends checking your skin once monthly, using a full-length mirror and a hand mirror. Ask a loved one to help you check the parts you can’t see yourself.
Not Only Does The Stage Tell You How Serious The Disease Is But It Can Help You And
A diagnosis of lung cancer naturally causes some overwhelming emotions, but you don’t have to let those emotions get the best of you. Knowing which marks and blemishes on your body sho. Being armed with information is vital to begin the fight. Together we will beat cancer this leaflet contains information on how to spot the symptoms of skin cancer early and reduce your risk. A cancer diagnosis can leave you unable to comprehend anything else your doctor says, but it’s important to pay attention to what stage of cancer you have. According to the american cancer society, just over 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the united states each year. Skin cancer isn’t always simple to identify. What does skin cancer look like? Information is a powerful weapon against uncertainty and fear, and you can use this to your advantage. It affects people of all races, genders and ages, which is why it’s absolutely critical for americans to learn about. View photos of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and kaposi sarcoma. Some types of skin cancer are more dangerous than others, but if you have a spot. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small.
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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:
Melanoma Signs To Look For
Melanoma is less common, but more dangerous. Thats because it tends to spread quicker than other types of skin cancer if not detected and treated early. Signs of melanoma include:
- A mole that develops later in life or an existing mole changing in size, shape, or color. Moles that are larger than 1/4 inch across can also be a red flag, as can ones which have an irregular border or color variations. A mole you have had all your life can sometimes become cancerous, so you should check your moles for changes frequently.
- Sores that refuse to heal.
- A spot that is expanding into the surrounding skin.
- Redness or swelling around a mole.
- A mole becoming itchy or painful.
- Scaliness, oozing, or bleeding on the surface of a mole.
If in doubt, your doctor may choose to remove an apparently innocent mole rather than take the risk. They will then test it to see if it has cancerous cells. If so, theyll determine which kind so they can refer you to an oncologist who can prescribe a treatment plan.
Skin cancer sometimes looks differently for people with darker skin tones. Unfortunately, it’s a myth that having dark skin will protect you from skin cancer, which sometimes causes darker-skinned people to miss cancer in its early stages. If you have dark skin, you should pay special attention to spots on your hands, the soles of your feet, and under your nails. This can indicate a particularly bad form of melanoma.
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If You Find A Spot You’re Concerned About See A Doctor
“If someone has a concern about a spot, I encourage them to go see a dermatologist,” Arthur said. “Because that’s what we’re here for.”
“Does it need to be necessarily looked at today? No. But you should make your appointment and try to get in as soon as you can,” she said.
And don’t assume you’re exempt from skin cancer just because you’re not an 80-year-old, fair-skinned, tanning bed addict covered in moles. Yes, the risk is higher in people with light skin, but skin cancer can happen to anyone, according to the National Cancer Institute even those with dark skin and those who are young.
“Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in women ages 15 to 29,” Arthur said. “Skin cancer is not just a cancer of the elderly. “
How Is Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Treated
Your treatment choices depend on how large the skin cancer is, where it is, and what stage it is. It also depends on the test results. The goal of treatment may be to cure you, control the cancer, or help ease problems caused by the cancer. Talk with your healthcare team about your treatment choices, the goal of treatment, and the possible risks and side effects. Other things to think about are if the cancer can be removed with surgery and your overall health.
Types of treatment for cancer are either local or systemic. Local treatments remove, destroy, or control cancer cells in 1 area. Systemic treatment is used to destroy or control cancer cells that may have traveled through your body. Surgery and radiation are local treatments. When taken by pill or injection, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment. You may have just 1 treatment or a combination of treatments.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer may be treated with:
- Creams applied to the area
Talk with your healthcare providers about your treatment options. Make a list of questions. Think about the benefits and possible side effects of each option. Talk about your concerns with your healthcare provider before making a decision.
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How Can You Help Prevent Skin Cancer
One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to harmful light. The AAD advises that you stay away from tanning beds and take necessary measures to protect yourself from sunlight.
Routine check-ups and self-awareness also play a significant role in prevention and detection. Try to look out for warning signs such as changes in size, shape, or color of a mole, the appearance of a new growth, or a sore that will not heal.
If you notice any of the above, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine if there has been any development of cancer.
If cancer is found, it can often be treated with Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is a procedure that removes layers of cancerous skin in stages to prevent the unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are used to restore the appearance of the skin.
How Can You Tell If You Have Skin Cancer
Sunday July 13 2014
Dr Edward Ogwang, a dermatologist at The Skin Specialist Clinic in Wandegeya, a Kampala suburb explains how a person with Kaposis sarcoma can develop skin cancer. He says lack of awareness is still a key challenge to managing the disease.PHOTOs by Rachel Mabala
The World Health Organisation says currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers, occur globally each year. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer. Today, we explore some of the warning signs of skin cancer, and how you can prevent the disease.
For 10 years now, John Bagole has lived with skin cancer. He is 32 years old. It all started with a small painful swelling on an area near his ear. At the time, I went to a nearby clinic and got medication and became fine. But after one year, the swelling reappeared, says Bagole.
My left side head and toes were swollen and before I could get proper treatment, the skin on my entire body had been affected. I developed moulds on my skin and people could not easily identify who I was at that point. I did not know what had happened to me, he adds.
Bagole says he got advice from different people on what to do about his condition, with some offering local herbs. The herbal medicines were so many yet not a single one worked to cure my condition. I was in too much pain, and my body felt heavy, says Bagole.
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What Are The Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatment such as radiation can damage normal cells. This can cause side effects like red, dry, burning skin in the area being treated, risk of infection, and hair loss and rash in the treatment area.
Surgery is the most common way to treat nonmelanoma skin cancer. There are many methods of surgery that can be used to remove the cancer. Side effects from surgical procedures depend upon the type of procedure. They may include bruising, risk of infection, scarring, pain, redness, or swelling at the site.
Talk with your healthcare provider about side effects you might have and ways to manage them. There may be things you can do and medicines you can take to help prevent or control side effects.
How Is Skin Cancer Of The Head And Neck Diagnosed
Diagnosis is made by clinical exam and a biopsy. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are staged by size and extent of growth. Basal cell cancers rarely metastasize to lymph nodes, but they can grow quite large and invade local structures. Squamous cell cancers have a much higher incidence of lymph node involvement in the neck and parotid gland and can spread along nerves.
Melanoma is staged, based not on size but on how deeply it invades the skin layers. Therefore, a superficial or shave biopsy will not provide accurate staging information used to guide treatment. Melanomas can have a very unpredictable course and may spread to distant organs. Melanomas with intermediate thickness often require sentinel node biopsy, a surgical procedure performed by a head and neck surgeon, to determine if microscopic spreading to lymph nodes has occurred.
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What Happens During A Skin Cancer Check
Your doctor will probably ask you some questions to assess your risk of skin cancer. You will usually need to undress for the skin examination. Your doctor may use a special device with a magnifying lens to look at any suspicious spots on your skin.
If your doctor suspects a skin cancer, they may remove it or perform a biopsy . Alternatively, they may refer you to a specialist.
How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is actually one of the easiest cancers to find. Thats because skin cancer usually begins where you can see it.
You can get skin cancer anywhere on your skin from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. Even if the area gets little sun, its possible for skin cancer to develop there.
You can also get skin cancer in places that may surprise you. Skin cancer can begin under a toenail or fingernail, on your genitals, inside your mouth, or on a lip.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Staging
Staging is the process of determining whether cancer has spread and, if so, how far. The stage of the disease may affect the treatment plan.
The stage is based on the size of the tumor, how deeply into the skin it has grown, and whether cancer has spread beyond the tumor to the lymph nodes. Your doctor will look at the results of the biopsy to determine the stage. In rare cases, your doctor may recommend imaging such as CT or PET-CT scan to see if the cancer has spread beyond the skin
Stages are numbered in Roman numerals between 0 and IV.
Most non-melanoma skin cancers are Stage 0 or Stage 1. Stage 3 and 4 are relatively rare. Based on the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, your overall health, and other factors, your doctor works with you to develop a treatment plan.
High risk features for primary tumor staging
- Depth/invasion: > 2 mm thickness , Clark level IV, Perineural invasion
- Anatomic: Primary site ear
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