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What Part Of The Body Does Skin Cancer Affect

Can Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Be Prevented

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There is no sure way to prevent nonmelanoma skin cancer. But there are some things that may help lower your risk for it, such as:

  • Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
  • Not using tanning booths and sunlamps
  • Limiting your sun exposure when UV light is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Wearing clothing to shade your face and cover your body
  • Doing skin checks

You may be able to spot skin cancer early when its easier to treat by doing a regular skin self-exam. If you are at risk, see a dermatologist regularly. That may also allow you to detect skin cancers when they’re easier to treat. Become familiar with the way your skin and moles look. Talk with your healthcare provider about any bumps, spots, or other marks that appear on your skin. Show your provider any area of skin that doesnt look normal.

How Is Skin Cancer Spread Through The Body

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What Can I Do To Prevent Skin Cancer In My Child

The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation advise you to:

  • Limit how much sun your child gets between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Put it on the skin of children older than 6 months of age who are exposed to the sun.

  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming.

  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase the chance of sunburn.

  • Make sure your child wears clothing that covers the body and shades the face. Hats should provide shade for both the face, ears, and back of the neck. Wearing sunglasses will reduce the amount of rays reaching the eye and protect the lids of the eyes, as well as the lens.

  • Dont let your child use or be around sunlamps or tanning beds.

The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of the use of sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old if adequate clothing and shade are not available. You should still try to keep your baby out of the sun. Dress the baby in lightweight clothing that covers most surface areas of skin. But you also may use a small amount of sunscreen on the babys face and back of the hands.

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What Is Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

What parts of your body are most susceptible to 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.

Read Also: How Can You Get Melanoma

Coping With Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

Many people feel worried, depressed, and stressed when dealing with cancer. Getting treatment for cancer can be tough on the mind and body. Keep talking with your healthcare team about any problems or concerns you have. Work together to ease the effect of cancer and its symptoms on your daily life.

Here are some tips:

  • Join a cancer support group.

Cancer treatment is also hard on the body. To help yourself stay healthier, try to:

  • Eat a healthy diet, with a focus on high-protein foods.
  • Drink plenty of water, fruit juices, and other liquids.
  • Keep physically active.
  • Rest as much as needed.
  • Talk with your healthcare team about ways to manage treatment side effects.
  • Take your medicines as directed by your team.

How Can I Help My Child Live With Skin Cancer

If your child has skin cancer, you can help him or her during treatment in these ways:

  • Your child may have trouble eating. A dietitian or nutritionist may be able to help.

  • Your child may be very tired. He or she will need to learn to balance rest and activity.

  • Get emotional support for your child. Counselors and support groups can help.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments.

  • Keep your child out of the sun.

After treatment, check your child’s skin every month or as often as advised.

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Targeted Drugs And Hormone Therapy

Some types of targeted cancer drugs and hormone therapy cause skin rashes.

Targeted cancer drugs called EGFR inhibitors are most likely to cause skin reactions such as a rash and itching. These include erlotinib and cetuximab.

If you have a severe rash, you may need treatment with steroid creams or tablets, or antibiotic creams or tablets.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer In A Child

How does cancer and cancer treatment affect your body?

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. The symptoms can include:

  • A small, raised bump that is shiny or pearly, and may have small blood vessels

  • A small, flat spot that is scaly, irregularly shaped, and pale, pink, or red

  • A spot that bleeds easily, then heals and appears to go away, then bleeds again in a few weeks

  • A growth with raised edges, a lower area in the center, and brown, blue, or black areas

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. They can also appear on other parts of the body, such as skin in the genital area. The symptoms can include:

  • A rough or scaly bump that grows quickly

  • A wart-like growth that may bleed or crust over.

  • Flat, red patches on the skin that are irregularly shaped, and may or may not bleed

Symptoms of melanoma include a change in a mole, or a new mole that has ABCDE traits such as:

  • Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.

  • Border irregularity. The edges of the mole are ragged or irregular.

  • Color. The mole has different colors in it. It may be tan, brown, black, red, or other colors. Or it may have areas that appear to have lost color.

  • Diameter. The mole is bigger than 6 millimeters across, about the size of a pencil eraser. But some melanomas can be smaller.

  • Evolving. A mole changes in size, shape, or color.

Other symptoms of melanoma can include a mole that:

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Risk Factors And Causes Of Skin Cancer

Despite the fact that high melanin content confers better photo protection, significant photo damage in the form of epidermal atypia and atrophy, dermal collagen and elastin damage and pigmentary disorders can cause skin cancer which could be fatal due to delay in detection in skin of color . Skin cancer is skin growth with varying degrees of malignancy . It is not yet very clear why skin cancer incidence has grown so dramatically over the past decades but the reason is likely to be multi factorial which includes increased UV exposure, environmental, hereditary risk factors and improved surveillance and earlier recognition . In addition, genetic polymorphisms also modulate the susceptibility to skin cancer .

Organ transplant receivers especially kidney and HIV patients have an increased frequency of skin cancers . Some treatments, including radiation therapy, phototherapy, psoralen and long-wave ultraviolet radiation can also predispose to skin malignancies . Viral infections such as the human papilloma virus can cause cancer. Patients with familial genetic patterns are vulnerable to particular types of skin cancers . Certain drugs, from common antibiotics to heart medications, can increase the skins sensitivity to sunlight, causing the skin to burn in less time and may increase the incidence of skin cancer .

When Melanoma Can’t Be Cured

If your cancer has spread and it is not possible to cure it by surgery, your doctor may still recommend treatment. In this case, treatment may help to relieve symptoms, might make you feel better and may allow you to live longer.Whether or not you choose to have anti-cancer treatment, symptoms can still be controlled. For example, if you have pain, there are effective treatments for this. General practitioners, specialists and palliative care teams in hospitals all play important roles in helping people with cancer.

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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:

  • Surgery
  • Creams applied to the area
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

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.

Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body

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When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if skin cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are actually skin cancer cells. The disease is metastatic skin cancer, not lung cancer.

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Wound Infection After Surgery

There is a risk of infection after skin cancer surgery, says Lucas. While in the office or the hospital we do everything as clean and infection-free as possible, but youre leaving the office with a fresh wound. It needs to be kept clean and protected and you need to be careful, she says.

Most surgical wound infections happen within 30 days of after surgery. There may be pus draining from the wound which can be red, painful, and hot to the touch.

A staph infection is probably the most common infection. Staph is found on all our skin some people carry this in their noses and in other areas, says Lucas.

There are risk factors that increase a persons chance of developing a surgical wound infection, including poorly controlled diabetes, an immune disorder, being overweight or obese, smoking, steroid use, or if the surgery lasted more than two hours.

There are ways to reduce the risk of infection after surgery, according to Lucas:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before performing twice-a-day wound care.
  • Avoid performing wound care in the bathroom if possible lots of bacteria can live in there.
  • After cleaning the wound, keep it lubricated with something like Vaseline to keep the stich line moist.
  • Be cautious when out and about and dont engage in strenuous activity.

How Does Ocular Melanoma Affect The Body & What Triggers It

Ocular melanoma is an eye cancer that develops in the melanocyte cells of the eyes. It is usually primary cancer that develops in the eye, not due to other cancers in the body. It is a rare cancer of the body. Its exact causes are not known. Its risk factors are identified, such as old age, exposure to UV rays, white skin color, green or blue eyes, etc. Its symptoms involve the blurring of the vision, bulged growth on the eyes, loss of peripheral sight, and many more.

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What Is Recurrent Melanoma

Recurrent melanoma refers to a recurrence of tumor at the site of removal of a previous tumor, such as in, around, or under the surgical scar. It may also refer to the appearance of metastatic melanoma in other body sites such as skin, lymph nodes, brain, or liver after the initial tumor has already been treated. Recurrence is most likely to occur within the first five years, but new tumors felt to be recurrences may show up decades later. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish recurrences from new primary tumors.

After Squamous Cell Cancer Of The Skin Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Skin Or To Other Parts Of The Body

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The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the skin or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma of the skin rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Staging tests to check whether basal cell carcinoma of the skin has spread are usually not needed.

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin:

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Continue Learning About Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

Can You Prevent Skin Cancer

Your best shot at preventing skin cancer is to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun by doing the following:

  • Protect your skin with sunblock
  • Wear tight-weave clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Avoid the outdoors or find shade when the sun is most intense
  • Stay out of the sun when taking certain medications
  • Never use a tanning bed

You cant always prevent skin cancer. But regular skin checks can help you catch it early. The faster its diagnosed and treated, the easier it is to cure.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vital Signs: Melanoma Incidence and Mortality Trends and Projections — United States, 1982-2030.

American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Figures 2016.

American Cancer Society: Melanoma Skin Cancer.

National Cancer Institute: What is Cancer?

Mayo Clinic: Diseases and Conditions, Skin cancer.

Mayo Clinic: Melanoma.

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Looking For More Of An Introduction

If you would like more of an introduction, explore this related item. Please note that these links will take you to other sections on Cancer.Net:

  • ASCO Answers Fact Sheet: Read a 1-page fact sheet that offers an introduction to melanoma. This free fact sheet is available as a PDF, so it is easy to print.

  • Cancer.Net Patient Education Video: View a short video led by an ASCO expert in melanoma that provides basic information and areas of research.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

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If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of skin cancer mentioned above, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. A dermatologist can examine your skin and determine if a biopsy is needed. This is true no matter your skin color.

Skin cancer can more difficult to see or may look different on darker skin, and even healthcare providers can overlook melanomas in people of color. If you are concerned, but do not feel that your concern is being addressed, be your own advocate and continue to ask questions or get a second opinion.

Skin Cancer Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.

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