What Are The Risk Factors For Skin Cancer
The most common risk factors for skin cancer are as follows.
- Ultraviolet light exposure, either from the sun or from tanning beds. Fair-skinned individuals, with hazel or blue eyes, and people with blond or red hair are particularly vulnerable. The problem is worse in areas of high elevation or near the equator where sunlight exposure is more intense.
- A chronically suppressed immune system from underlying diseases such as HIV/AIDS infection or cancer, or from some medications such as prednisone or chemotherapy
- Exposure to ionizing radiation or chemicals known to predispose to cancer such as arsenic
- Certain types of sexually acquired wart virus infections
- People who have a history of one skin cancer have a 20% chance of developing second skin cancer in the next two years.
- Elderly patients have more skin cancers.
Most basal cell carcinomas have few if any symptoms. Squamous cell carcinomas may be painful. Both forms of skin cancer may appear as a sore that bleeds, oozes, crusts, or otherwise will not heal. They begin as a slowly growing bump on the skin that may bleed after minor trauma. Both kinds of skin cancers may have raised edges and central ulceration.
Signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinomas include:
Signs and symptoms of squamous cell carcinomas include:
- Persistent, scaly red patches with irregular borders that may bleed easily
- Open sore that does not go away for weeks
- A raised growth with a rough surface that is indented in the middle
- A wart-like growth
What Are The Different Types Of Skin Cancer
Your skin has multiple layers. The outer, protective layer of the skin is known as the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of squamous cells, basal cells, and melanocytes. These cells are constantly shedding to make way for fresh, new skin cells.
However, when certain genetic changes occur in the DNA of any of these cells, skin cancer can occur. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
A Primer On Skin Cancer
Malignant melanoma, especially in the later stages, is serious and treatment is difficult. Early diagnosis and treatment can increase the survival rate. Nonmelanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Both are common and are almost always cured when found early and treated. People who’ve had skin cancer once are at risk for getting it again; they should get a checkup at least once a year.
You May Like: Can You Cure Stage 4 Melanoma
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.
Basal Cell Carcinoma: The Most Common Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma, which is also called basal cell skin cancer, is the most common form of skin cancer, accounting for about 80 percent of all cases.
Rates of basal cell carcinoma have been increasing. Experts believe this is due to more sun exposure, longer lives, and better skin cancer detection methods.
This type of cancer begins in the skins basal cells, which are found in the outermost layer, the epidermis. They usually develop on areas that are exposed to the sun, like the face, head, and neck.
Basal cell carcinomas may look like:
- A flesh-colored, round growth
- A pinkish patch of skin
- A bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and then comes back
They typically grow slowly and dont spread to other areas of the body. But, if these cancers arent treated, they can expand deeper and penetrate into nerves and bones.
Though its rare, basal cell carcinoma can be life-threatening. Experts believe that about 2,000 people in the United States die each year from basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
Some risk factors that increase your chances of having a basal cell carcinoma include:
- Being exposed to the sun or indoor tanning
- Having a history of skin cancer
- Being over age 50
- Having chronic infections, skin inflammation, or a weakened immune system
- Being exposed to industrial compounds, radiation, coal tar, or arsenic
- Having an inherited disorder, such as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome or xeroderma pigmentosum
Recommended Reading: Does Melanoma Skin Cancer Itch
S Of Bumps On Skin: Cysts Skin Tags Lumps And More
BCCs are more likely to develop on skin that is regularly exposed to the sun, especially on the face, head and neck. BCCs may appear as: smooth and pearly-white. waxy. a firm, red lump or may look sunken in the middle. a pearly brown or black lump if you have darker skin. a flat, red spot that is scaly and crusty. a pale non-healing scar.
Because its frequently exposed to the sun, the skin on the scalp may develop cancer. Abnormal or asymmetrical moles, crusty patches, and sore bumps may be signs of skin cancer. In this article, well describe the symptoms and appearance of cancerous growths on the scalp and commonly used ways to treat them.
Common staph symptoms which have a tendency to affect the skin are: Development of an abscess, which could lead to redness, pain, and swelling. It can be in the form of an infected hair follicle or a boil on the skin and, in some cases, it could look like a bump similar to a cystic acne pimple.
Several skin lesions are very common and almost always benign . These conditions include moles, freckles, skin tags, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses. However, moles are the most commonly examined for cancer if changes are detected. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center.
Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin depends mostly on the following:
- Stage of the cancer.
- Whether the patient is immunosuppressed.
- Whether the patient uses tobacco.
- The patient’s general health.
Treatment options for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin depend on the following:
- The type of cancer.
- The stage of the cancer, for squamous cell carcinoma.
- The size of the tumor and what part of the body it affects.
- The patients general health.
Read Also: What Doctor Treats Skin Cancer
Signs Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma most commonly looks like a small open sore. It could be red or pink in fair-skinned people and brown in people of color. It may present as a red patch or bump on the skin. BCC often has a raised or rolled border around the sore and may bleed or crust over. It can present differently in each individual.;
BCC is usually found on areas of the body exposed to the sun like the face, ears, neck, scalp, and shoulders. If you have experienced an open sore that doesn’t heal or a red patch of skin that wont go away, its best to get it checked out. BCC can also look like a shiny, pearl-like growth or a waxy scar with undefined borders. The area may itch, be painful, or have no symptoms at all.;
Basal Cell Carcinoma Is Common
If youve been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma or BCC, you have plenty of company. As the most common type of cancer in the world, doctors diagnose millions of people with BCC every year. In the United States alone, its estimated that about 2 million Americans hear, You have basal cell carcinoma, each year.1
Most people who develop this skin cancer have fair skin that they seldom protected with sunscreen or sun-protective clothing. Before they developed skin cancer, they often noticed signs of sun damage on their skin, such as age spots, patches of discolored skin, and deep wrinkles.
Dermatologist examining patient for signs of skin cancer
You have a greater risk of developing this skin cancer if youve seldom protected your skin from the sun throughout your life or used tanning beds.
Although BCC is most common in people who have fair skin, people of all colors get this skin cancer.
For most people, BCC is not life-threatening. It tends to grow slowly. It seldom spreads to another part of the body. Even so, treatment is important.
When found early, this skin cancer is highly treatable. An early BCC can often be removed during an appointment with your dermatologist.
Given time to grow, this skin cancer can grow deep, injuring nerves, blood vessels, and anything else in its path. As the cancer cells pile up and form a large tumor, the cancer can reach into the bone beneath. This can change the way you look, and for some people the change may be disfiguring.
Don’t Miss: Who Checks For Skin Cancer
Merkel Cell Carcinoma: A Rare Skin Cancer On The Rise
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that affects about 2,000 people in the United States each year.
Though its an uncommon skin cancer, cases of Merkel cell carcinoma have increased rapidly in the last couple of decades.
This type of cancer starts when cells in the skin, called Merkel cells, start to grow out of control.
Merkel cell carcinomas typically grow quickly and can be difficult to treat if they spread.
They can start anywhere on the body, but Merkel cell carcinomas commonly affect areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and arms.
They may look like pink, red, or purple lumps that are firm when you touch them. Sometimes, they can open up as ulcers or sores.
Risk factors include:
Tests Or Procedures That Examine The Skin Are Used To Diagnose Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin
The following procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and health history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patients health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
- Skin exam: An exam of the skin for bumps or spots that look abnormal in color, size, shape, or texture.
- Skin biopsy: All or part of the abnormal-looking growth is cut from the skin and viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. There are four main types of skin biopsies:
- Shave biopsy: A sterile razor blade is used to shave-off the abnormal-looking growth.
- Punch biopsy: A special instrument called a punch or a trephine is used to remove a circle of tissue from the abnormal-looking growth. Enlarge Punch biopsy. A hollow, circular scalpel is used to cut into a lesion on the skin. The instrument is turned clockwise and counterclockwise to cut down about 4 millimeters to the layer of fatty tissue below the dermis. A small sample of tissue is removed to be checked under a microscope. Skin thickness is different on different parts of the body.
- Incisional biopsy: A scalpel is used to remove part of a growth.
- Excisional biopsy: A scalpel is used to remove the entire growth.
Don’t Miss: How Fast Does Melanoma Metastasis
Signs Of Merkel Cell Cancer
Merkel cell cancer growths usually appear as firm, painless bumps or sores. They are found on sun-exposed areas of the body, especially the head, neck, and eyelids. The growths look like pearly pimple-like lumps and may be difficult to recognize. They can be pink, red, or purplish-blue. They usually grow quickly, which is why they are three to five times deadlier than melanoma.;
A helpful way to spot Merkel cell cancer is by using the AEIOU tool:
- Asymptomatic: Most lesions are not painful or tender to the touch
- Expanding: Merkel cell cancer growths expand and grow quickly
- Immunocompromised: A compromised immune system puts someone at higher risk
- Older: More common in individuals over age 50
- UV-exposed skin: Lesions are more likely to present on sun-exposed skin
Basal Cell Carcinoma Pictures
Basal cell carcinoma usually appears in areas of the skin previously exposed to high levels of UV radiation such as the head, neck, ears and the back of the arms and hands. It is common in exposed skin of outdoor workers or people who have used sun tanning beds in the past.
As the basal cell carcinoma pictures below indicate, this type of skin cancer usually shows as a fleshy coloured bump that does not disappear over time and tends to grow slowly in size, eventually breaking down and ulcerating.
Below are pictures of skin cancer on the neck, face and trunk;. These images show common areas where;basal cell carcinoma;develops, but it can develop anywhere.
Basal cell carcinoma.;The skin cancer pictures in this article were licensed from DermNet NZ
You May Like: Is Renal Cell Carcinoma Hereditary
Skin Cancer: Types Symptoms And Prevention
We all know how to maintain good skin and overcome its problems, but do we know that slight itching can lead to consequences. One such obstacle is skin cancer. What is skin cancer? What are its preventions? Get to know as mentioned below.
The unusual growth of skin cells most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. But this natural form of cancer can also occur in areas of your skin not usually exposed to sunlight as well.Recognized early skin cancer is treatable. Well, if you think it is contagious! NO.
The type of skin cancer a person gets is defined by where cancer begins. If cancer originates in skin cells named basal cells, the individual has basal cell skin cancer.The second category of skin cancer is melanoma. This cancer develops from cells that give your skin color. Certain cells are known as melanocytes. Harmless moles formed by melanocytes can become cancerous at gracious times.
They can occur anywhere in your body. In a male, these moles are more probable to develop on the chest and back. In females, these moles are more likely to develop on the legs. Most melanomas are cured if identified and operated on early. If left untreated, they can expand to other parts of the body and become harder to treat.;
Skin Cancer Types:
Several other skin tumors are a granted part of a bigger skin cancer umbrella. Not these are skin cancer, but they can grow cancerous.
All these skin issues may vary from time to time if not taken care of or treated properly.
What Are Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancers
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common types of skin cancer. They start in the top layer of skin , and are often related to sun exposure.
Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells. To learn more about cancer and how it starts and spreads, see What Is Cancer?
You May Like: How Long Until Melanoma Spreads
The Four Major Types Of Melanoma
- superficial spreading melanoma: the most common type of melanoma; lesions are usually flat, irregular in shape, and contain varying shades of black and brown; it can occur at any age
- lentigo maligna melanoma: usually affects the elderly; involves large, flat, brownish lesions
- nodular melanoma: can be dark blue, black, or reddish-blue, but may have no color at all; it usually starts as a raised patch
- acral lentiginous melanoma: the least common type; typically affects the palms, soles of the feet, or under finger and toenails
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
RELATED: The Difference Between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen
Don’t Miss: How Do You Feel With Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer Symptoms And Signs
Basal Cell Carcinoma
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and has a predilection for sun-exposed skin. Tumors may appear as a pearly or waxy bumps usually with visible blood vessels , or as a flat scaly reddish patch with a brown border, or as a hard or scar-like lesion . Frequently BCCs can be itchy, often bleed, or in more advanced cases, ulcerate.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Main Cause Of Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinomas And Squamous Cell Carcinomas
While melanoma often gets the most coverage, there are two other major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Often grouped;together as non-melanoma skin cancers, these two types are;much more common than melanoma cancer. Although they are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body, they may cause disfigurement if not treated early.
Basal cell carcinomas;are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skins basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the;outermost layer of the skin. They often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars and usually are caused by sun exposure.
Warning signs include:
- Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to a scar
- Raised reddish patches that may be itchy
- Small, pink or red, translucent, shiny, pearly bumps, which might have blue, brown or black areas
- Pink growths with raised edges and a lower area in their center, which may contain abnormal blood vessels
- Open sores that dont heal or that heal and then return
- Basal cell cancers are often fragile and might bleed after shaving or after a minor injury. If you have a sore or a shaving cut that doesnt heal after a week, it would be wise to contact your doctor.
- Rough or scaly red patches, which may crust or bleed
- Raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lower area in the center
- Open sores that dont heal or that heal and then come back
- Wart-like growths
Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Have Melanoma Skin Cancer