- by Dr Murali Subramanian Oncology India
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- Aug 17 2017
What is Skin Cancer?
The skin safeguards against sunlight, heat, injury, and infection. Skin also helps control body temperature and reservoirs fat and water. The most common type of cancer is the skin cancer. It generally forms in skin that has been exposed to sunlight, but can happen anywhere on the body.
Skin has various layers. Skin cancer starts in the epidermis (exterior surface), which is made up of melanocytes, squamous cells and basal cells.
Skin cancer is the unlimited growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrestored DNA injury to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) stimulates modifications, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply quickly and form malignant tumors.
There are many different types of skin cancer. Melanoma, Squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers. Squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers are sometimes called nonmelanoma skin cancers. Nonmelanoma skin cancer generally reacts to treatment and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Melanoma is more vigorous than most other types of skin cancer. If it is not identified early, it is likely to violate nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. The number of incidences of melanoma is growing each year. Only two percent of all skin cancers are melanoma, but it is the reason for most demises from skin cancer.
Unusual kinds of skin cancer include Merkel cell carcinoma, skin lymphoma, and Kaposi sarcoma.
Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. This may be lasting submission or short periods of overexposure. This is because ultraviolet or UV light from the sun damages the DNA (genetic material) in our skin cells.
Skin cancer symptoms
Melanoma skin cancer symptoms
The most important warning sign of melanoma is a new spot on the skin or a spot that is altering in dimension, appearance, or color. Another important sign is a spot that looks different from all of the other spots on your skin (known as the ugly duckling sign). If you have one of these caution signs, have your skin checked by a doctor.
Non-melanoma skin cancer symptoms
While signs of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma differ, an unusual skin growth, bump or sore that doesn't go away may be the first indication of a non-melanoma skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinomas on the head or neck may first arrive as a pale area of skin or a waxy colorless lump. It may be possible to see blood vessels in the center of the bump or there may be an indentation in the center. If the carcinoma develops on the chest it may look more like a brownish scar or flesh-colored wound. As the cancer grows, it may bleed if injured or ooze and become crusty in some areas.
Squamous cell carcinomas may also develop as a lump on the skin. However, these hard lumps may be rugged on the exterior, unlike the plane and pearly appearance of a basal cell carcinoma. If a nodule does not appear, the cancer may evolve more like a reddish flaky stripe. Whereas a skin rash may go away with time, these rough abrasions-like patches remain and continue to grow slowly. This type of cancer frequently is found on the arms, hands, head or neck but they can also grow in other areas, such as the private parts or in blotch or skin sores.
Nevertheless, both squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas may also develop as flat sections that do not look much different from normal skin, so it is crucial to be conscious of the symptoms of skin cancer and discuss any changes with your doctor.
Skin cancer risk factors
The key risk factor for skin cancer, inclusive of melanoma and non-melanoma cancers, is subject to ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight and tanning beds. The risk of developing skin cancers intensifies with greater exposure to these sources of UV radiation. People who live in environments with bright sunlight year-round or those who spend a lot of time outdoors without vigilant clothing or sunscreen, are at greater risk. Early exposure, especially frequent burns from exposure to the sun as a kid, can also increase your skin cancer risks.
Skin cancer prevention
Reducing your exposure to UV light by avoiding direct sunlight and loungers is the most significant thing you can do to lessen your risk of developing skin cancer. Whenever you go out in the sun, wear protective, hats, clothing sunscreen and sunglasses.
Frequent, detailed skin analysis is also critical, especially if you have a large number of moles or other risk factors. While this will not stop skin cancer from developing, it may help to detect it sooner, when it can be treated more easily. Tell your doctor if you see any new, uncommon or reforming moles or growths on your skin.
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