What Causes Melanoma
Melanoma is caused by skin cells that begin to develop abnormally.
Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is thought to cause most melanomas, but there’s evidence to suggest that some may result from sunbed exposure.
The type of sun exposure that causes melanoma is sudden intense exposure. For example, while on holiday, which leads to sunburn.
Certain things can increase your chance of developing melanoma, such as having:
- lots of moles or freckles
- pale skin that burns easily
- red or blonde hair
Read more about the causes of melanoma.
How Do You Treat Non
Usually, the only treatment needed for non-melanoma skin cancer is surgery. The affected cells are removed along with a surrounding area, to make sure no cancer cells are left behind.
Theres also photodynamic therapy, which is when cancer cells are killed by bright light after youve taken a drug that makes your skin more sensitive to light.
And radiotherapy is also sometimes used instead of or as well as surgery. Chemotherapy creams and injections are options too.
Skin Cancer Diagnosis Always Requires A Skin Biopsy
When you see a dermatologist because youve found a spot that might be skin cancer, your dermatologist will examine the spot.
If the spot looks like it could be a skin cancer, your dermatologist will remove it all or part of it. This can easily be done during your appointment. The procedure that your dermatologist uses to remove the spot is called a skin biopsy.
Having a skin biopsy is essential. Its the only way to know whether you have skin cancer. Theres no other way to know for sure.
What your dermatologist removes will be looked at under a microscope. The doctor who examines the removed skin will look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, your biopsy report will tell you what type of skin cancer cells were found. When cancer cells arent found, your biopsy report will explain what was seen under the microscope.
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Sun Protection/skin Cancer Prevention Tips
- Avoid exposure when the sun’s rays are the strongest, from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and sunglasses. These can block out some of the sun’s harmful rays.
- Seek out shade whenever possible.
- Do not use tanning booths or sun lamps these are not a safe alternative to the sun. These emit both UVA & UVB light and greatly increase risk for all types of skin cancer.
Is Nasal Cancer Dangerous
If the cancer is located only in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinus, the 5-year survival rate is 84%. If the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or organs and/or regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 51%. If there is distant spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 42%.
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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 Can I Find Skin Cancer Early
- Talk with your doctor if you see any changes on your skin that do not go away within one month.
- Check the skin on all surfaces of your body, even in your mouth.
- Watch for a new mole or other new growth on your skin.
- Check for changes in the appearance of an old growth on the skin or scar .
- Watch for a patch of skin that is a different color and becomes darker or changes color.
- Watch for a sore that does not heal it may bleed or form a crust.
- Check your nails for a dark band. Check with your doctor if you see changes, such as if the dark band begins to spread.
When skin cancer is found early, it can be treated more easily.
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Knowledge Is Your Best Defense
What Is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma , melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma .
The two main causes of skin cancer are the suns harmful ultraviolet rays and the use of UV tanning beds. The good news is that if skin cancer is caught early, your dermatologist can treat it with little or no scarring and high odds of eliminating it entirely. Often, the doctor may even detect the growth at a precancerous stage, before it has become a full-blown skin cancer or penetrated below the surface of the skin.
Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.
Oral Medications For Advanced Bcc
It is rare for skin cancer to reach advanced stages, but when it does, oral medications may help. In addition to chemotherapy, targeted drugs may be used to treat advanced skin cancer. Targeted therapy means that the medication is able to directly target the cancer cells without destroying healthy cells. This can help to reduce side effects from treatment.
Vismodegib and sonidegib are hedgehog pathway inhibitors that work to prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading. The capsules are taken once per day and may be considered after surgery and other treatments. These medications come with several possible side effects and should never be taken during pregnancy since they can affect fetal growth.
Cetuximab is an EGFR inhibitor that can help to stop the spread of cancerous squamous cells. Its possible side effects include skin infections, diarrhea, mouth sores, and loss of appetite.
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Stay Away From Tobacco
There is no safe form of tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes or use other types of tobacco products, its best to stop. Its also important to stay away from tobacco smoke . Both using tobacco products and being exposed to tobacco smoke can cause cancer as well as many other health problems. If you dont use tobacco products, you can help others by encouraging the people around you to quit. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 for help, or see How to Quit Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco to learn more about quitting.
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Skin Cancer On The Face: Types And Prevention
Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology. He is a clinical professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, and co-founder and practicing dermatologist at the Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology in Colorado.
Because it is exposed to the sun more than other parts of the body, the skin on your face is especially vulnerable to skin cancer. And skin cancer on the face can be mistaken for other conditionssuch as age spots, pimples, scarring, acne, styes, and cysts.
Skin cancers that tend to occur more often on the face include actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. The face is also a common site of melanoma and there are several other lesser-common skin cancers that can affect the face. The risk of getting skin cancers on the face increases with high amounts of sun exposure and other ultraviolet light exposure.
About 75% of non-melanoma skin cancers occur on the head or neck.
Skin cancer occurs when cells in the skin’s layers become damaged in ways that cause them to look and act differently than the normal healthy cells around them and start to grow out of control. UV rays play a major role in damaging cells by causing gene mutations.
You can watch for signs of skin cancer on your face by paying attention to new or odd-looking spots or feeling growths, splotches, or moles.
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Symptoms On Black And Brown Skin
On dark skin, it may be easier to feel a lesion than see it. People with black skin may be more likely to find a lesion on a part of the body that has little exposure to the sun, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Skin cancer can affect people with any skin color, but those with brown or black skin are more likely to receive a diagnosis at a later stage. This may be due to a lack of awareness of how skin cancer appears on skin colors other than white.
Anyone who notices an unusual change in their skin should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
The medical community has developed two ways to spot the early symptoms of melanoma. This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
A person can use the ABCDE method or the ugly duckling method.
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 .
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How Is Scalp Cancer Diagnosed
You might go to your doctor if you notice a suspicious spot on your scalp, or a doctor might notice it during a skin check. No matter how the spot is found, skin cancer diagnosis will happen roughly the same way.
First, your doctor will ask you about your family history of cancer, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, use protection in the sun, and if you use tanning beds. If you noticed the lesion, your doctor may ask if youve noticed any changes over time or if its a new growth.
Then your doctor will do a skin exam to look more closely at the lesion and determine if you need further testing. Theyll look at its size, color, shape, and other features.
If your doctor thinks it might be skin cancer on your scalp, theyll take a biopsy, or small sample, of the growth for testing. This testing can tell your doctor if you have cancer, and if you do, what type. A biopsy might be enough to completely remove a small cancerous growth, especially basal cell carcinoma.
If the spot is cancerous but not basal cell carcinoma, your doctor might recommend more testing to see if it has spread. This will usually include imaging tests of lymph nodes in your head and neck.
Skin Cancer Can Happen To Anyone
One myth about skin cancer is that it is a disease that afflicts only people with light-colored skin.
It can happen to anyone, regardless of skin color, said Dr. Peebles. While white people have higher rates of melanoma compared to other races or ethnicities, for instance, the annual incidence rate of melanoma is still five per 100,000 in Hispanics, and one per 100,000 among Black people.
Skin cancer in skin of color is often diagnosed in later stages when its more difficult to treat, Dr. Peebles added, noting that individuals of color are less likely than their white counterparts to survive melanoma and are also more prone to skin cancer in areas not commonly exposed to the sun, including the palms, soles, groin area, inside the mouth and under the nails.
Also, when were thinking of some different health disparities, there have been several studies showing that there may be an increased risk of skin cancer in some sexual minority men, said Dr. Peebles. We think that has a lot to do with disproportionate indoor tanning behaviors in that population, but theres still much more to learn on that topic.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is actually one of the easiest cancers to find. Thats because skin cancer usually begins where you can see it.
You can get skin cancer anywhere on your skin from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. Even if the area gets little sun, its possible for skin cancer to develop there.
You can also get skin cancer in places that may surprise you. Skin cancer can begin under a toenail or fingernail, on your genitals, inside your mouth, or on a lip.
Soft Tissue And Bone Cancers
Sarcomas are cancers that start in connective tissues such as muscles, bones, or fat cells. There are 2 main types of sarcoma:
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Bone sarcomas
Sarcomas can develop at any age, but some types occur most often in older teens and young adults.
Soft tissue sarcomas: These cancers can start in any part of the body, but they often develop in the arms or legs. Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that starts in cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles, is most common in children younger than 10, but it can also develop in teens and young adults. Most other types of soft tissue sarcomas become more common as people age. Symptoms depend on where the sarcoma starts, and can include lumps , swelling, or bowel problems.
Bone sarcomas: The 2 most common types of bone cancer,osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, are most common in teens, but they can also develop in young adults. They often cause bone pain that gets worse at night or with activity. They can also cause swelling in the area around the bone.
Osteosarcoma usually starts near the ends of the leg or arm bones. The most common places for Ewing sarcoma to start are the pelvic bones, the bones of the chest wall , or in the middle of the leg bones.
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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.
You Can Find Skin Cancer On Your Body
The best way to find skin cancer is to examine yourself. When checking, you want to look at the spots on your skin. And you want to check everywhere from your scalp to the spaces between your toes and the bottoms of your feet.
If possible, having a partner can be helpful. Your partner can examine hard-to-see areas like your scalp and back.
Getting in the habit of checking your skin will help you notice changes. Checking monthly can be beneficial. If you have had skin cancer, your dermatologist can tell you how often you should check your skin.
People of all ages get skin cancer
Checking your skin can help you find skin cancer early when its highly treatable.
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