Who Gets Skin Cancer And Why
Sun exposure is the biggest cause of skin cancer. But it doesn’t explain skin cancers that develop on skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. Exposure to environmental hazards, radiation treatment, and even heredity may play a role. Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have:
- Fair skin or light-colored eyes
- An abundance of large and irregularly-shaped moles
- A family history of skin cancer
- A history of excessive sun exposure or blistering sunburns
- Lived at high altitudes or with year-round sunshine
- Received radiation treatments
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 Does Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Look Like
Squamous cell carcinomasasskinasskin cells
Squamous Cell CarcinomaThis nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn’t heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body.
Secondly, what color is squamous cell carcinoma? Rough-feeling, reddish patchThis is an early sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
Also asked, how bad is squamous cell skin cancer?
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive. Untreated, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.
Can you pick off skin cancer?
“Picking at skin cancers is very bad, because you can scratch the top of it off and normal skin will grow in from the sides. So you think, “Oh, well I got rid of that.” But you can‘t pick a skin cancer completely off. The tumor is under that layer of skin and keeps growing.”
Recommended Reading: Who Checks For Skin Cancer
When Is A Mole A Problem
A mole is a benign growth of melanocytes, cells that gives skin its color. Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time. “Normal” moles can appear flat or raised or may begin flat and become raised over time. The surface is typically smooth. Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Most moles develop in youth or young adulthood. It’s unusual to acquire a mole in the adult years.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Risk Factors
Certain things make you more likely to develop SCC:
Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in skin conditions. They will:
- Ask about your medical history
- Ask about your history of severe sunburns or indoor tanning
- Ask if you have any pain or other symptoms
- Ask when the spot first appeared
- Give you a physical exam to check the size, shape, color, and texture of the spot
- Look for other spots on your body
- Feel your lymph nodes to make sure they arent bigger or harder than normal
If your doctor thinks a bump looks questionable, theyll remove a sample of the spot to send to a lab for testing.
Don’t Miss: What Does Squamous Skin Cancer Look Like
How To Diagnose Skin Cancer
First, a doctor will examine a personâs skin and take their medical history. They will usually ask the person when the mark first appeared, if its appearance has changed, if it is ever painful or itchy, and if it bleeds.
The doctor will also ask about the personâs family history and any other risk factors, such as lifetime sun exposure.
They may also check the rest of the body for other atypical moles and spots. Finally, they may feel the lymph nodes to determine whether or not they are enlarged.
The doctor may then refer a person to a skin doctor, or dermatologist. They may examine the mark with a dermatoscope, which is a handheld magnifying device, and take a small sample of skin, or a biopsy, and send it to a laboratory to check for signs of cancer.
Health & Wellnessthe Big Mistake People Make When Applying Sunscreen To Their Face
People may not think about the area around the lip as much when they put on sunscreen, Chi said, so the lips can be vulnerable. The type of sunblock they use can also determine how much coverage they get. A recent study found people do a worse job applying an SPF moisturizer to their face than a traditional sunscreen, missing more skin.
After her diagnosis, French just wanted to have the spot removed. So, in the summer of 2016, she underwent Mohs micrographic surgery, a procedure to remove all cancerous tissue while keeping as much healthy skin as possible. Doctors had to take out a quarter-sized lesion, then reconstructed that area of her face.
French kind of freaked out when she saw how much flesh had to be taken out and the recovery was painful. But shes happy with how the surgery turned out, relieved that the cancer is gone and pleasantly surprised by how well her lip has healed. Just a tiny hard-to-see scar remains.
She now puts on more sunscreen and wears a hat whenever she spends time outdoors in the sun, she said.
Read Also: Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Malignant
What Makes Yale Medicines Approach To Squamous Cell Carcinoma Unique
Simple, small cancers can often be treated very well by a local dermatologist, according to Dr. Leffell. We rarely see the small cancers. We get referred to the cases that need special attention.
Dr. Leffell emphasizes that at Yale Medicine, the patient always comes first. We like to have a discussion with the patient about what happens after the skin cancer is removed, he says. We talk about what’s involved with plastic surgery and what’s involved with letting the area heal naturally. We prefer to take a minimalist approach and let the patient decide what they want us to do and how they want to let their skin heal.
If the decision is made to repair the wound using plastic surgery, we do that immediately in the office setting, Dr. Leffell says. Alternatively, allowing the wound to heal naturally is often a great option, and does not rule out doing plastic surgery down the road if needed, though that is very rarely the case.
Invasive Squamous Cell Cancer Of The Vulva
Almost all women with invasive vulvar cancers will have symptoms. These can include:
- An area on the vulva that looks different from normal it could be lighter or darker than the normal skin around it, or look red or pink.
- A bump or lump, which could be red, pink, or white and could have a wart-like or raw surface or feel rough or thick
- Thickening of the skin of the vulva
- Bleeding or discharge not related to the normal menstrual period
- An open sore
Verrucous carcinoma, a subtype of invasive squamous cell vulvar cancer, looks like cauliflower-like growths similar to genital warts.
These symptoms are more often caused by other, non-cancerous conditions. Still, if you have these symptoms, you should have them checked by a doctor or nurse.
Also Check: What Stage Is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma
How Serious Is My Invasive Well
I have been diagnosed with invasive well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, involving biopsy border. How serious is this? It is located about one inch below ear and 1 inch diagonally below jawline. I also take an immunosuppressant for an unrelated condition, which I understand can make the cancer more serious. From what I have read, because of its location this is quite serious. Am I going to die?
You May Like: How To Know If You Have Melanoma Skin Cancer
S Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma On The Skin
The following pictures show many of the ways that SCC can appear on the skin.
Rough-feeling, reddish patch
This is an early sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
Round growth with raised borders
This squamous cell carcinoma developed from a pre-cancerous growth called an actinic keratosis.
A sore that won’t heal or heals and returns
On the skin or lips, squamous cell carcinoma can look like a sore.
This can be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma, which is why you want a board-certified dermatologist to examine your skin before you treat any age spot.
Raised, round growth
This is a common sign of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
When squamous cell carcinoma looks like this, it tends to grow quickly.
Because this common skin cancer can begin on any part of the body that has squamous cells, it can also develop inside the mouth, on the genitals, inside the anus, or in the tissue beneath a fingernail or toenail.
In these areas, this skin cancer may look like a:
Sore or rough patch
Raised, reddish patch
Brown or black line beneath a nail
Sore inside your mouth
This squamous cell carcinoma started inside the mouth and grew to cover a larger area.
Dark streak beneath a nail
Squamous cell carcinoma can look like a brown or black line beneath a nail, as shown here.
When it develops around the nail, it can look like a wart that just wont go away. If youve had a wart around a fingernail for years, its time for a dermatologist to examine it.
Don’t Miss: What Is Invasive Carcinoma Breast Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin And Actinic Keratosis Often Appear As A Change In The Skin
Not all changes in the skin are a sign of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, or actinic keratosis. Check with your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin.
Signs of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include the following:
- A sore that does not heal.
- Areas of the skin that are:
- Raised, smooth, shiny, and look pearly.
- Firm and look like a scar, and may be white, yellow, or waxy.
- Raised and red or reddish-brown.
- Scaly, bleeding, or crusty.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin occur most often in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the nose, ears, lower lip, or top of the hands.
Signs of actinic keratosis include the following:
- A rough, red, pink, or brown, scaly patch on the skin that may be flat or raised.
- Cracking or peeling of the lower lip that is not helped by lip balm or petroleum jelly.
Actinic keratosis occurs most commonly on the face or the top of the hands.
How Are Moles Evaluated
If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE’s of melanoma — or one that’s tender, itching, oozing, scaly, doesn’t heal or has redness or swelling beyond the mole — see a doctor. Your doctor may want to remove a tissue sample from the mole and biopsy it. If found to be cancerous, the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it will be removed and the wound stitched closed. Additional treatment may be needed.
Recommended Reading: Is Squamous Cell Carcinoma Dangerous
Squamous Cell Carcinoma In Situ
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
Squamous cell carcinoma in situ, also known as Bowens disease, is a precancerous condition that appears as a red or brownish patch or plaque on the skin that grows slowly over time. The patches are often found on the legs and lower parts of the body, as well as the head and neck. In rare cases, it has been found on the hands and feet, in the genital area, and in the area around the anus.
Bowens disease is uncommon: only 15 out of every 100,000 people will develop this condition every year. The condition typically affects the Caucasian population, but women are more likely to develop Bowens disease than men. The majority of cases are in adults over 60. As with other skin cancers, Bowens disease can develop after long-term exposure to the sun. It can also develop following radiotherapy treatment. Other causes include immune suppression, skin injury, inflammatory skin conditions, and a human papillomavirus infection.
Bowens disease is generally treatable and doesnt develop into squamous cell carcinoma. Up to 16% of cases develop into cancer.
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.
Also Check: How Do You Know You Have Melanoma
Types Of Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial cancer starts in the cells of the inner lining of the uterus . This is the most common type of cancer in the uterus
Endometrial carcinomas can be divided into different types based on how the cells look under the microscope. They include:
- Transitional carcinoma
- Serous carcinoma
Clear-cell carcinoma, mucinous adenocarcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, dedifferentiated carcinoma, and serous adenocarcinoma are less common types of endometrial adenocarcinomas. They tend to grow and spread faster than most types of endometrial cancer. They often have spread outside the uterus by the time theyre diagnosed.
Prevention Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma
People whose squamous cell carcinomas have returned or are large should be treated with a technique called Mohs microscopically controlled surgery Mohs Microscopically Controlled Surgery Basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer, originates in certain cells of the outer layer of the skin . Usually, a small, shiny bump appears on the skin and enlarges slowly… read more. Radiation therapy may be done after surgery.
Squamous cell carcinoma that has spread to only one or a few other parts of the body is treated with radiation therapy. If the cancer is widespread, radiation therapy may not be used, and chemotherapy is usually not effective.
People who cannot have surgery and who have large squamous cell carcinomas that have spread to underlying tissue or elsewhere in the body may be given PD-1 inhibitors . PD-1 inhibitors help the body’s immune system destroy the cancer. These drugs are called PD-1 inhibitors because they block the action of a protein on the surface of the cancer cell called programmed cell death protein 1. This protein protects the cancer cell from the effects of the immune system. When PD-1 inhibitors block the protein, the immune system is able to attack the cancer cell and kill it.
Because there is a greater risk of metastasis than with basal cell carcinoma, doctors closely monitor treatment and follow-up.
Read Also: What Are The Different Kinds Of Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer Pictures: What Does Skin Cancer Look Like
Skin cancer images by skin cancer type. Skin cancer can look different than the photos below.
Skin cancer often presents itself as a change in the skins appearance. This could be the appearance of a new mole or other mark on the skin or a change in an existing mole.
Please remember that you should always seek advice from your doctor if you have any concern about your skin. Skin cancers often look different from skin cancer images found online.
How Reduce Your Risk For Cancer
Factors like genetics can influence your risk of getting skin cancer, but the number-one culprit is still the sun. Naturally, the biggest thing you can do is use sun protection all the time. “You really have to wear sunscreen every single day,” Karen says. When you’re actually at the beach or spending a lot of time outside in the sun’s rays, make sure to reapply every two hours, she says.
As much as we love our SPF, Karen stresses sunscreen alone isn’t enough. “It should be one component of a smart sun strategy that includes hats, long sleeves, sun-protective clothing, and sitting in the shade,” she explains.
“If you don’t go in the sun, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never get skin cancer, but it does greatly decrease your risk of the big three,” Day adds.
Be sure to keep up with yearly skin checks. If you have a history of skin cancer, either personally or in your family, your dermatologist might recommend upping them to every six months. And in the meantime, don’t be afraid to see your derm about something that looks weird.
McNeill recommends making an appointment to see your dermatologist if a spot a weird bump, sore, mole, or pimple that just won’t go away is not healing after a month. “You should not have a pimple or a scab or new bump for a month,” she says.
For more on how to prevent skin cancer:
Read Also: What Happens If You Have Skin Cancer