Skin Cancer: Types, Symptoms, & Treatments Explained
Skin cancer occurs when skin cells start to grow abnormally; it usually develops on those areas of skin that are regularly exposed to the sun. However, it can also occur on areas that rarely see the sunlight.
Before we discuss more, let’s first read a
few alarming facts about skin cancer.
In the US alone, skin cancer kills more
than 2 people every hour.
At least 1 in 5 Americans likely develop
skin cancer by the age of 70.
It is the most common cancer in the US and
Still, your risk of skin cancer can be
controlled if you avoid exposure to UV radiation and often check for any of its
signs. By noticing suspicious or unwanted changes on your skin, one can detect
skin cancer at an early stage, which increases the chances for better results
of its treatment. This means you should be aware of these changes to detect it
as early as possible, or at least before it grows uncontrollably.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Skin cancer symptoms vary with its type,
and it is divided into three major types.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma most often occurs in
areas of your body that are easily exposed to the sun, like the face and neck.
It may appear as:
A bump seeming pearly or waxy
Bleeding or scabbing sore that returns every few days after healing
A flat lesion (that looks like a scar occurring without any external damage)
Squamous cell carcinoma
This is another type of cancer that
generally occurs on sun-exposed areas of skin, including hands, face, and ears.
It may appear as:
A flat lesion with a scaly-looking surface
A firm, red nodule
This cancer can occur on any area of your
skin or in an existing mole. It usually appears on the trunk or face in men,
while it more often develops on the lower legs in women.
Regardless of skin tone and gender,
Melanoma can develop on skin never exposed to the sun. However, it tends to
form on the palm or sole or beneath the fingernails or toenails in people with
Its signs include:
- A large brownish spot
- A mole that changes in color/size or bleeds
- A small lesion that appears red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black
- A painful or itchy lesion that gives a burning sensation
Besides, you should also know various risk
factors that can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Let’s discuss
them in brief.
- Exposure to UV light
- People with fair skin and hazel/blue eyes and those with red or blond hair are more vulnerable than others
- The problem can be worse for people living in high elevation areas or near the equator as there, the exposure to sunlight is a little more intense
- Exposure to ionizing radiation (X-rays)
- Exposure to chemicals (e.g., arsenic) (which can cause damage to skin that can lead to cancer)
- Specific types of sexually acquired wart virus infections
Once signs are identified and cancer is
diagnosed correctly and early, doctors can give on-time treatment to cure skin
cancer. Several types of procedures are used to cure cancer, and the choice of
treatment depends upon various factors mentioned below.
- Location and size of the tumor,
- Microscopic characteristics of the cancer
- Patient’s general health conditions
Types of Skin Cancer Treatment
Patients can use medical gels and creams to
treat superficial basal cell carcinomas. For example, creams that contain
imiquimod, which works as a stimulator for your immune system, enabling it to
produce interferon (a type of signaling protein that fights cancer growth).
While many patients do not complain of any
side effects of topical medications, some may experience redness, irritation,
EDC - destruction by electrodessication and
EDC starts with numbing the cancerous area
of the skin using a local anesthetic; doctors then use a curette (a sharp
medical instrument) to scrape the site. The direct advantage of this medical
procedure is easier, inexpensive, and takes less time than other treatment
In this, the initial step is the same as
for EDC. Then, a ball-shaped portion of cancerous tissue is removed, and the
wound edges are closed using sutures. Additionally, at the patient’s request,
doctors may also feather the edges using an electrode, making the scar less
While it is a little complicated and
costlier than EDC, there is a greater than 90% cure rate.
Mohs micrographic surgery
The cancer-affected skin area is locally
anesthetized, and a surgeon removes the visible tumor along with a tiny portion
of normal tissue. Immediately after that, they evaluate the tissue under a
microscope; here, if the areas demonstrate the involvement of residual tumor,
they re-excise the areas then re-examine the margins. This process continues in
a cycle until the tumor is completely removed.
This treatment procedure is used for:
- Cancer cases with absolute need to preserve
- Cases where the tumor margins are not defined correctly
- Tumors previously treated but have recurred
- Some high-risk tumors
Under this method, medical professionals
deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor, including a minimal surrounding
area, and it takes ten to fifteen treatment sessions. Radiation therapy is
helpful for those who are not comfortable undergoing a surgical procedure,
which is one of its advantages – no cuts involved.
Nevertheless, it too has disadvantages; it
is difficult to test, determine, and ensure that the tumor is removed
completely or not. In some cases, radiation scars may look worse over time.
Some other types of skin cancer treatment
- Cryosurgery – used to destroy the cancerous
tissue by freezing
- PDT – photodynamic therapy – used to destroy the tissue using blue light and medication
- Laser surgery – used to vaporize (ablate) the top layer of the skin and destroy lesions
- Oral medications
For better results of skin cancer treatment, early diagnosis is vital. If you notice any small unfamiliar changes on your skin, you are advised to see a skin doctor. Find the best and most reliable medical professionals and specialists at Central Valley Medical Providers.
Feel free to discuss your medical requirements; talk to one of our customer service representatives at (877) 216-4215/local: 559.450.6334. To schedule a consultation, call us now!
- 5 Simple Exercises to Keep Your Heart Healthy & Happy
- What Vitamins and Minerals do Adults Need?
- How to Keep Your Body Active While Working Remotely
- Five Heart Healthy Foods that should be Consumed in Limited Quantities
- Early Symptoms of Liver Problems that You Shouldn't Avoid
- Immunity Enhancing Foods for a Healthy Life
- Hypertension FAQs: Answers to Your High Blood Pressure Questions
- Effective Ways to Achieve Weight Loss While Staying at Home
- Handling Alzheimer’s Disease Effectively - Early Signs and Precautions
- Learn How to Control Blood Sugar with the Right Diet Plan
- Tips to Get the Best Results from Your Urgent Care Visit
- What Is a Primary Care Physician, and Why Do You Need One?
- The Importance of Nutrition and Dietetics for a Healthy Lifestyle
- Know About Foods That Can Help Prevent Diabetes
- Easy-to-do Breathing Exercises to Calm Your Mind and Anxiety
- This Heart Health Month, Know How to Keep Your Heart Strong & Healthy
- Everything You Need to Know About Depression
- Energy Boosting Foods: Fight Cancer, Slow Aging, And Boost Energy
- Tips to Boost Immunity and Stay Healthy During the Winter Season
- Causes of Sleeplessness and Ways to Sleep Well Amid A Pandemic
- Social Isolation in Elderly: Here’ How COVID-19 is Affecting our Aging Adults!
- Breast Cancer- Cause, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Cure!
- Why Medicare Open Enrollment Is So Important
- Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy This Flu Season
- Meditation Walk! Learn about its Benefits, Ways of Practice, and More!
- Panic Attacks! Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments Explained!
- Stressed and Overwhelmed? Here might be the Reasons for You to Feel Crisis Fatigue!
- Want to Protect Your Skin this Summer? Here’s How!
- What are the Advantages of Telemedicine?
- 6 Things You Should Know when Visiting a Doctor's Office during a Pandemic!
- How to Follow a Healthy Diet While Sheltering in Place?
- How to Ensure Physical & Mental Health amidst the COVID-19 Lockdown?
- Staying Protected against COVID-19 amidst Essential Errands!
- How to Protect Yourself amidst the COVID-19 Outbreak?
- Seasonal Allergies – What You Need to Know
- Coronavirus- What is it, How it Spreads, and What Preventative Measures could be Taken?
- Fall Risk in Seniors
- Urgent Care Vs. Emergent Care
- Seniors and Exercise