Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they’re not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Almost all skin cancers are the result of too much exposure to ultraviolet light. This is found in sunlight, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Skin cancer is usually one of the most curable types of cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two of the most common forms of skin cancer. They are very curable. These cancers occur in the basal and squamous cell layers at the top of the skin. They are almost always slow-growing. If found early, they are easy to treat and do not spread.
Melanoma is a less common but aggressive form of skin cancer. It occurs in skin cells that make a skin color pigment called melanin. If it is not found early, it will likely spread to other tissues. It can spread through the whole body and may cause death. Only 2% of skin cancer cases are melanoma. But it causes the most deaths from skin cancer.
Prevention: Protection From The Sun
Taking measures to protect your skin from the sun limits how much UV radiation gets into your skin, reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. Protect your skin against UV light by avoiding the sun, wearing protective clothing, and using sunscreens.
- Avoid midday sun
- Limit how long you are out in the sun if you are at high risk of skin cancerRisk factors are:skin that burns in the sunred or blond hairfamily history of skin cancer
- Apply sunscreen with a high sun protection factor Make sure you put enough sunscreen on your skin for the whole time you are in the sun.Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before you go in the sun and reapply it after 2 hours, or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.Used correctly, a tablespoon of sunscreen will cover your face and 2 ounces will cover exposed areas of your bodyMake-up products containing sunscreen do not provide adequate coverage, particularly as you are unlikely to use them on your ears, neck, or chest.Skin experts in most countries recommend using a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Wear protective clothingWhen standing upright in the sun make sure you protect your scalp, face, upper back, and forearmsWear a wide-brimmed hat.
Recommended Reading: Does Skin Cancer Burn And Itch
Permission To Use This Summary
PDQ is a registered trademark. Although the content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text, it cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless it is presented in its entirety and is regularly updated. However, an author would be permitted to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks succinctly: .
The preferred citation for this PDQ summary is:
PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Skin Cancer Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .
Images in this summary are used with permission of the author, artist, and/or publisher for use within the PDQ summaries only. Permission to use images outside the context of PDQ information must be obtained from the owner and cannot be granted by the National Cancer Institute. Information about using the illustrations in this summary, along with many other cancer-related images, is available in Visuals Online, a collection of over 2,000 scientific images.
Staging For Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin Depends On Where The Cancer Formed
Staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid is different from staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma found on other areas of the head or neck. There is no staging system for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma that is not found on the head or neck.
Surgery to remove the primary tumor and abnormal lymph nodes is done so that tissue samples can be studied under a microscope. This is called pathologic staging and the findings are used for staging as described below. If staging is done before surgery to remove the tumor, it is called clinical staging. The clinical stage may be different from the pathologic stage.
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The Sun Does Not Cause Skin Cancer
The past president of the American Academy of Dermatology once said, Sunscreens are an essential weapon in the fight against skin cancer. Thats just completely FALSE and there is no scientific justification for such a statement and the REAL scientist and researchers KNOW this.
The type of skin cancer most people are worried about is called malignant melanoma. Most dermatologists say or imply that excess sunlight will cause this disease. Of course, they have NO facts to back it up and most try not to say it, but rather imply it.
The REAL scientific fact is that the LACK of ADEQUATE sunlight is a very strong factor in the development of melanoma. Again, I just dont have enough room in this one article to get into all the facts
But the sun helps produce a variety of very beneficial hormones, all needed to FIGHT DISEASE. It also helps the body with creating and absorbing Vitamin D which is needed to absorb Calcium and other important vitamins and minerals which help to reduce the acidity, alkalize the body and help with proper blood PH .
Natural Products Can Cause Side Effects During Skin Cancer Treatment
Black salve isnt the only natural treatment that concerns dermatologists. Vitamins, herbal remedies, and other all-natural products can interact with cancer treatment. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and St. Johns wort are especially worrisome. If a patient takes one of these while on chemotherapy or receiving radiation treatments, serious side effects can occur.
In Germany, many people take mistletoe to strengthen their immune system. If you have melanoma, your doctor will advise you to avoid it. German studies have found that mistletoe may cause melanoma to spread more quickly.
Dermatologists also worry when patients take vitamins and other supplements during clinical trials. Patients agree to take only the medicine being studied. Surveys, however, indicate that patients often supplement with natural products. They use these products to help strengthen their body during cancer treatment.
This is understandable. The problem is that vitamins, herbs, and other natural products can interact with cancer treatments. In a clinical trial, there is no way to know whether the drug or the interaction between the drug and an all-natural product caused a serious side effect. This could prevent potentially helpful treatments from becoming approved.
Recommended Reading: Does Amelanotic Melanoma Blanch When Pressed
Treatment For Basal Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin
Treatment options for BCC of the skin include the following:
Mohs micrographic surgery is commonly used for local recurrences of BCC.
Dont Send Me Hate Mail
I know most people have been BRAIN WASHED into thinking the sun is bad. Or that there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Do what you want, its your body but Im just reporting on the FACTS!
Most everything on the earth NEEDS the sun. Your body is made to function better because of it.
The real problem of sun damage is when an individual doesnt go in the sun for a few weeks or months or all winter and the first sign of sunlight, they run to the beach and lay out for hours on end. Thats just ABUSE for your skin.
All you need is about 20-30 minutes of good sunlight every day and youll be healthy. Dont EVER burn.
Take it from a person who has been tanning NON STOP for 20+ years who has NO wrinkles , nor moles or anything else weird on my skin. You HAVE to get some sun every single day, just do it in moderation and dont burn.
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If Youre Considering A Natural Treatment For Skin Cancer
Dermatologists understand that people want to do everything they can to beat cancer. Dermatologists want that too.
To help their patients get the most from treatment for skin cancer, they recommend the following:
See your dermatologist for a diagnosis. Effective treatment begins with knowing what you have.
Tell your dermatologist about concerns you have regarding a biopsy or treatment. Many concerns are based on misinformation. If you still have concerns, ask if another option may be possible.
Research recommendations made by friends and family. They want to help but often lack the medical training needed to give you sound advice. When it comes to skin cancer treatment, your dermatologist and websites like this one are your best sources.
Tell your dermatologist if you are taking a vitamin, mineral supplement, herbal remedy, or any other product to help treat your cancer. Many natural products can cause serious side effects when taken during cancer treatment.
Question claims. If a product or therapy seems too good to be true, thats usually a sign that it is.
Now that you know the other side of the story, you can make decisions that protect your health.
ImagesUsing laptop: Getty Images
Nose treated with black salve: Image used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 65 e154-55.
ReferencesAmerican Academy of Dermatology, Beware of black salve. News release issued 5/11/2016. Last accessed March 30, 2017.
Help Getting Through Cancer Treatment
People with cancer need support and information, no matter what stage of illness they may be in. Knowing all of your options and finding the resources you need will help you make informed decisions about your care.
Whether you are thinking about treatment, getting treatment, or not being treated at all, you can still get supportive care to help with pain or other symptoms. Communicating with your cancer care team is important so you understand your diagnosis, what treatment is recommended, and ways to maintain or improve your quality of life.
Different types of programs and support services may be helpful, and can be an important part of your care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help.
The American Cancer Society also has programs and services including rides to treatment, lodging, and more to help you get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.
Read Also: Stage 3 Basal Cell Carcinoma Survival Rate
No Proof Black Salve Can Cure Cancer
If you search online for black salve, youll find claims that it can draw out cancer. This is misleading. Its never been proven to work.
Governments around the world are warning their citizens of this fact. In Australia, people are advised not to purchase black or red salves to treat cancer. An online alert says the Australian government is not aware of any credible, scientific evidence which shows that any black or red salve preparation is effective in treating cancer.
In the United States, our government does the same. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that Products Claiming to “Cure” Cancer are a Cruel Deception.
What Are The Types Of Skin Cancer
Lynn Cornelius, MD, Division Chief of Dermatology
There are several types of skin cancer.
The most common types are non-melanoma skin cancers , such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The majority of skin cancers begin in the epidermis, which is predominantly made up of three kinds of cells: squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes. The most serious forms of skin cancer are melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and rarely metastasizes or spreads. About 8 out of 10 skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas. They are usually found on skin exposed to sunlight, and may appear as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and may bleed.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. This type of skin cancer has a low but not negligible incidence of metastases, spreading in approximately 2% of cases. Usually, squamous cell carcinoma occurs on parts of the skin that are exposed to long periods of sunlight, such as the face, ears, lips, neck, arms and backs of hands. This cancer may appear as a firm red bump, a scaly red patch, an open sore, or a wart that may crust or bleed easily.
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Also Check: Etiology Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
How Do I Know What Health Information To Trust
Health information fills the internet. Much of it is good. Some of it is wrong or misleading. Here are some tips for evaluating the quality of the information you read:6
Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan. You should also talk about the possible side effects of the specific treatment plan and palliative care options.
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What Is The Difference Between Melanoma And Other Skin Cancers Like Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma , and melanoma each arise from different cell types in the top layer of the skin. BCC and SCC are far more common than melanoma, and also less dangerous. Each year, over 2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with BCC and SCC. When detected and treated early, nearly all BCCs and SCCs can be cured. In comparison, approximately 139,000 people will be newly diagnosed this year with melanoma the most deadly form of skin cancer. Unfortunately, melanoma has a greater tendency to aggressively spread beyond the skin, to lymph nodes and internal organs. Thankfully, however, the vast majority of melanomas are caught early and cured.
What Home Remedies For Skin Cancer Can I Try
Here are a few ideas for taking charge of your skin health:
- Prevention is better than a cure. Ultraviolet light exposure is the most important risk factor for skin cancer. There are many things that you can do for yourself and your family to reduce UV exposure, including:
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with sun protection factor 15 or higher.
- Seek shade between 10 am and 2 pm.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
- Avoid indoor tanning beds.
- Talk to your doctor.If you see a suspicious lesion, it is critically important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor. It may turn out not to be skin cancer at all. If it is skin cancer, discuss the treatment options with your doctor. Explain your concerns about scars or side effects. There may be several ways to treat the cancer. You may be able to find a treatment that meets your financial needs and cosmetic preferences with acceptable side effects.
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