Skin cancer occurs when cells of the skin grow abnormally and form a lesion. It most often develops on skin exposed to the sun but can also occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.
Skin cancer is categorized into three different types; basal cells, squamous cell, and melanoma. The first two types are non-melanoma skin cancers, which are highly curable. However, malignant melanoma is a rare type of cancer and harder to treat. It can quickly spread to nearby tissue and cells from the point of origin. Hence, it is necessary to have a timely intervention.
What are the symptoms you need to look out for?
In the early stages, skin cancer only occurs as a tiny lump or lesion and often get mistaken for other skin conditions. However, each type of skin cancer causes a specific set of signs and symptoms. Symptoms of each type of cancer are:
Basal cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma
- Raised translucent bumps on the skin that are smooth and pearly
- Pink or red lumps with a crusted centre
- Small blood vessels appearing on the lump or lesion
- Red scaly patches with irregular edges
- Ulcer and bleeding in patches
- Dome-shaped bump with a rough surface and an indented centre
- Moles that are asymmetrical and abnormal
- Mole changing color or diameter
- Red ulcers that itch and bleed
- Spots or growths of various colors, ranging from brown to black
If you witness any abnormal growth or spot on the skin, consult with a dermatologist for prompt evaluation.
What are the risk factors associated with skin cancer?
Anyone can get skin cancer. While constant exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun is the most common cause of skin cancer, other factors can also increase the risk. These factors can include:
- Fair skin, which has less pigment and protection from the UV rays.
- Severe sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- Frequent use of tanning beds
- Weak immunity
- History of skin cancer in the family
Skin cancer can be easily diagnosed and only require a physical exam in most cases. To diagnose skin cancer, our doctor may:
- Skin examination: They will check your skin to determine whether your skin changes are likely to be skin cancer. If they suspect cancer, further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.
- Skin biopsy: They will remove a sample of suspicious skin and send it to the lab for testing. These tests can determine whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have.
Treatments for skin cancer include:
It’s the most common and successful treatment method to cure skin cancer. Depending on the severity and the location of the cancer, our doctors may use various types of surgery to cure cancer. These methods can include:
- Cryosurgery: They will destroy precancerous cells by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.
- Excisional surgery: They will cut off the cancerous tissues along with the surrounding tissues.
- Mohs surgery: They will remove cancer along with the affected skin. The surgeon will remove the cancer layer by layer to save as much skin as possible.
- Curettage or electrodesiccation: They will scrape away the cancerous cells using an electric needle.
Our radiation oncologist will destroy cancer cells with high-energy radiation. It can also be performed to destroy remaining tissues which can’t be removed during surgery.
to destroy cancer cells with anticancer drugs that are applied directly to the skin. It can also be administered intravenously to treat cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.
They will use a combination of laser light and drugs to destroy skin cancer cells that are sensitive to light.
They will use specialized drugs that trigger the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells. This is mostly used in malignant melanoma.
It is used in advanced stage basal cell carcinoma in advanced stage.