How Does Skin Cancer Become A Life
You may wonder how cancer on the surface of your skin becomes a life-threatening cancer. It seems logical to think you could just scrape off the skin with the cancer cells or even remove the cancerous skin lesion with a minor skin surgery and thats all that would be needed. These techniques are successfully used if cancer is caught early.
But if skin cancer isnt caught early, something thats just on my skin can grow and spread beyond the immediate area. Cancer cells break away and travel through the bloodstream or lymph system. The cancer cells settle in other areas of your body and begin to grow and develop into new tumors. This travel and spread is called metastasis.
The type of cancer cell where cancer first started called primary cancer determines the type of cancer. For example, if malignant melanoma metastasized to the lungs, the cancer would still be called malignant melanoma. This is how that superficial skin cancer can turn into life-threatening cancer.
Benign Tumors That Develop From Other Types Of Skin Cells
- Seborrheic keratoses: tan, brown, or black raised spots with a waxy texture
- Hemangiomas: benign blood vessel growths, often called strawberry spots
- Lipomas: soft growths made up of fat cells
- Warts: rough-surfaced growths caused by some types of human papilloma virus
Most of these tumors rarely, if ever, turn into cancers. There are many other kinds of benign skin tumors, but most are not very common.
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.
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What Is Skin Cancer And Melanoma
Skin cancer is a disease that occurs when your skin cells grow abnormally, usually from too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
This uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells forms a tumour in the skin. Tumours are either benign , or malignant .
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer: each year, more than 13,000 Australians are diagnosed with a melanoma and almost 980,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are treated. Skin cancer is mostly preventable, and there are effective treatment options available.
Skin cancers are named according to the cells in which they form. There are 3 main types:
- Basal cell carcinoma begins in the lower segment of cells of the epidermis your outer layer of skin. These tend to grow slowly, and rarely spread to other parts of the body.
- Squamous cell carcinoma grows from the flat cells found in the top layer of your epidermis. SCC can grow quickly on the skin over several weeks or months. Bowens disease is an early form of SCC that hasnt grown beyond the top layer of skin.
- Melanoma grows from cells called melanocytes cells that give your skin its colour. Melanoma is the rarest type of skin cancer but is considered the most serious because it can spread quickly throughout the body.
BCC and SCC are also called non-melanoma skin cancers. BCC represents more than 2 in 3 non-melanoma skin cancers, and around 1 in 3 are SCC. There are other types of non-melanoma skin cancers, but they are rare.
How Skinvision Can Help You
SkinVision enables you to check your skin spots for signs of skin cancer within 30 seconds. Our algorithm is currently at the level of a specialist dermatologist.In skin spots with a potential health risk, SkinVision provides feedback about the preferred next step to take.
SkinVision also enables you to store photos to keep track of changes over time, helping you to monitor your health in the long term.
The efficient and easy-to-use solution is available for iOS and Android and helps to make skin monitoring a simple routine.
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Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. These cancers develop within the basal cell layer of the skin, in the lowest part of the epidermis.
Patients who have had basal cell carcinoma once have an increased risk of developing a recurrent basal cell cancer. Basal cell cancers may recur in the same location that the original cancer was found or elsewhere in the body. As many as 50 percent of cancer patients are estimated to experience basal cell carcinoma recurrence within five years of the first diagnosis.
Basal cell carcinomas typically grow slowly, and it is rare for them to metastasize or spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body. But early detection and treatment are important.
After completing treatment for basal cell carcinoma, it is important to perform regular self-examinations of the skin to look for new symptoms, such as unusual growths or changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot. Skin cancers typically develop in areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, but they may also develop in areas with no sun exposure. Tell your oncologist or dermatologist about any new symptoms or suspicious changes you may have noticed.
- Have a history of eczema or dry skin
- Have been exposed to high doses of UV light
- Had original carcinomas several layers deep in the skin
- Had original carcinomas larger than 2 centimeters
Skin Cancer Types: Basal Cell Carcinoma Overview
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
Basal cell carcinoma
What is basal cell carcinoma?The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma can show up on the skin in many ways.
Is it contagious? No
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Have A Skin Cancer Screening
Early intervention and treatment is crucial in skin cancer cases. A yearly skin cancer screening with a dermatologist is the best way to detect skin cancer early, since dermatologists are trained to recognize the earliest warning signs.
If a suspicious growth or lesion is found during your screening, it will be biopsied to test for signs of cancer. If the biopsy comes back negative, no follow-up is necessary. If the biopsy comes back positive, your dermatologist will explain your treatment options and help you develop a clear plan for addressing the cancer.
Can You Prevent Skin Cancer
According to Dr. Dorsey, Skin cancer is an extremely serious condition, but with proactive care, most cases can be avoided altogether. In fact, taking a few small steps to limit sun damage and conducting regular skin self-exams is all you need to do to keep your skin healthy. Because sun exposure is the main underlying cause of skin cancer, sun protection is essential to prevent this condition. Patients need to apply sunscreen every day and reapply at least every two hours during prolonged sun exposure. Whenever possible, limit or avoid time spent outdoors during peak sun hours between 10 am and 4 pm. If patients need to be outdoors during these times, its important to wear protective coverings, seek shade, and reapply sunscreen frequently.
In addition to daily sun protection steps, patients also need to perform self-exams at least every month. Early detection is key to providing effective skin cancer treatment, so regular self-exams are an essential part of keeping people healthy. Your Board Certified Dermatologist can walk you through a self-exam when you visit the office, but the basic process involves carefully examining your skin, from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet , and noting any spots, lesions, bumps, discoloration, or other skin changes or irregularities. When you know where marks are on your skin, youll be more likely to notice if they are growing or changing in ways that are concerning or that indicate skin cancer.
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From The Harvard Health Letter May 2006
Summers the season for fun in the sunbut also for skin cancer. Of the three main types of skin cancer, melanoma is most deadly, and basal cell, most common. Squamous cell cancer falls in between. Its three times as common as melanoma . Though not as common as basal cell , squamous cell is more serious because it is likely to spread . Treated early, the cure rate is over 90%, but metastases occur in 1%5% of cases. After it has metastasized, its very difficult to treat.
Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented
Skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Making a part of your life, avoiding sunburn, and checking your skin regularly will help prevent further damage to your skin.
Protect your skin from UV radiation and help prevent skin cancer by:
- slipping on sun-protective clothing: cover your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body.
- slopping on sunscreen thats rated SPF 30+ or higher, broad-spectrum and water resistant.
- slapping on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- seeking shade under trees, umbrellas and buildings from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.
- sliding on sunglasses that wrap around your face to protect your eyes and surrounding skin.
- staying away from sun lamps, solariums or sunbeds, which emit dangerous levels of UV radiation.
UV radiation from the sun varies depending on time of day, season, where you live and cloud coverage. Protect your skin whenever UV Index levels are above 3. Use Cancer Council Australias free SunSmart app to check the UV Index for your area any time.
Most Australians will get enough vitamin D even with sun protection at UV level 3 or above. Babies and children should be protected from the sun, since they are particularly vulnerable to UV radiation harm.
While using fake tanning cream isnt harmful to your skin, it offers no protection from UV radiation. You still need to protect yourself from the sun.
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What Is Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a disease that begins in the cells of the skin. The area of skin with the cancer is often called a lesion. There are several types of skin cancer . Melanoma is the most serious. But there are others that are known as nonmelanoma skin cancer. These include:
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are by far the most common.
Surgery For Skin Cancer
Small skin cancer lesions may be removed through a variety of techniques, including simple excision , electrodesiccation and curettage , and cryosurgery .
Larger tumors, lesions in high-risk locations, recurrent tumors, and lesions in cosmetically sensitive areas are removed by a technique called Mohs micrographic surgery. For this technique, the surgeon carefully removes tissue, layer by layer, until cancer-free tissue is reached.
Malignant melanoma is treated more aggressively than just surgical removal. To ensure the complete removal of this dangerous malignancy, 1-2 cm of normal-appearing skin surrounding the tumor is also removed. Depending on the thickness of the melanoma, neighboring lymph nodes may also be removed and tested for cancer. The sentinel lymph node biopsy method uses a mildly radioactive substance to identify which lymph nodes are most likely to be affected.
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Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
SCC is generally faster growing than basal cell cancers. About 20 out of every 100 skin cancers are SCCs. They begin in cells called keratinocytes, which are found in the epidermis.
Most SCCs develop on areas of skin exposed to the sun. These areas include parts of the head, neck, and on the back of your hands and forearms. They can also develop on scars, areas of skin that have been burnt in the past, or that have been ulcerated for a long time.
SCCs don’t often spread. If they do, it’s most often to the deeper layers of the skin. They can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body, but this is unusual.
What Is A Melanocyte
Melanocytes are skin cells found in the upper layer of skin. They produce a pigment known as melanin, which gives skin its color. There are two types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. When skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds, it causes skin damage that triggers the melanocytes to produce more melanin, but only the eumelanin pigment attempts to protect the skin by causing the skin to darken or tan. Melanoma occurs when DNA damage from burning or tanning due to UV radiation triggers changes in the melanocytes, resulting in uncontrolled cellular growth.
Naturally darker-skinned people have more eumelanin and naturally fair-skinned people have more pheomelanin. While eumelanin has the ability to protect the skin from sun damage, pheomelanin does not. Thats why people with darker skin are at lower risk for developing melanoma than fair-skinned people who, due to lack of eumelanin, are more susceptible to sun damage, burning and skin cancer.
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Why Is There No Cure
During most of the 20th century, the number of people killed by cancer every year relative to population size, or the cancer death rate rose steadily to its peak in 1991, according to the ACS’s most recent summary of the state of cancer in the U.S. Since 1991, the cancer death rate has fallen by 31%, which is equivalent to 3.2 million fewer cancer deaths compared with the death rate in 1991.
The study authors attribute the decrease in cancer death rates to reductions in smoking, earlier detection and better treatments for some cancers. “We have made a lot of progress in the fight against cancer,” Siegel said.
Yet despite all that progress, a wholesale “cure for cancer” remains elusive for many reasons. The first issue is that cancer is not just one disease that could be eradicated with one cure. Instead, it’s hundreds of diseases, Siegel explained. “We would need hundreds of different types of cures to cure all cancer,” she said.
Another reason it’s hard to cure cancer is that the bar for cancer being cured is incredibly high. Cancer is cured if there are no traces of it in the body and it will never come back, according to the NCI, or is not expected to come back, according to the ACS. But even when all traces of a cancer have disappeared, there’s no way of knowing with certainty that it won’t return.
The 10 Deadliest Cancers And Why There’s No Cure
Any kind of cancer is awful. Here is information about the 10 deadliest cancers.
The dread and fear that can come with a cancer diagnosis have their roots in its killer nature: Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Americans after heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even when diagnosed early and attacked with the latest treatments, cancer still has the power to kill.
Worldwide, the three cancers that killed the most people in 2020 were lung cancer , colorectal cancer and liver cancer . But those aren’t the deadliest cancers, according to Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society .
The number of people a cancer kills each year depends on two factors: how many people have it and what percentage of people diagnosed with the cancer survive it , Siegel explained. The deadliest cancers are those with the lowest survival.
Cancer researchers determine survival with a measure called the 5-year relative survival. This is the percentage of people who are expected to survive the effects of a given cancer, excluding risks from other possible causes of death, for five years past a diagnosis, according to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program , a National Cancer Institute initiative that collects, compiles, analyzes and reports data and statistics on cancer cases nationwide.
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What Are The Most Common Forms Of Skin Cancer
Did you know that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month? At Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center, we pride ourselves on educating clients on staying safe in the summer sun. We also offer clients a range of treatments designed to prevent, diagnose, and treat skin cancer.
Skin cancer is one of the fastest-growing cancers in the United States the stat especially rings true for women under the age of 25, where skin cancer is one of the leading causes of death. However, not all skin cancer is created equal. Some types of skin cancer can be chronic, while others can be potentially fatal. Getting regular skin checks is the best way to detect and prevent skin cancer!
Take a look at the most common types of skin cancer, and how to spot their warning signs:
At Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center, our dermatologists can identify, diagnose, and treat the most common types of skin cancer. To learn more about our skin cancer expertise, schedule a consultation at Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C. & Aesthetic Center today.
Dr Russell Akin Midland Dermatology
Dr. Russell Akin, MD, RPh. FACMS, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon at Midland Dermatology. Dr. Akin specializes in skin cancer treatments, Mohs surgery, and other dermatological procedures with patients ages 12 and up at Midland Dermatology.
For more information or to schedule an appointment at Midland Dermatology, call 432-689-2512.
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