Skin Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Sunlight is essential for our health because sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D. However, too much exposure to the sun without proper protection can harm the skin. This can improve the signs of aging, or in serious cases lead to skin cancer.

Over time, ultraviolet (UV) light damage elastin fibers of the skin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to wrinkle, stretch and lose its ability to return to the place after stretching.

How to Change Skin Sun?
Exposure to the sun causes:

  • Pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratosis) and cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma)
  • benign tumors
  • Fine and coarse wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Regional mottled skin pigmentation
  • Pale skin color – yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Telangiectasia – dilation of small blood vessels under the skin
  • Elastosis – destruction of elastic tissue, causing lines and wrinkles


What Causes Skin Cancer?
In skin tumors, there is uncontrolled growth of skin cells. Tumors can be either benign (cells do not spread beyond the tumor) or malignant (cells have the ability to spread). The term “malignant skin tumor” is synonymous with the term “Skin Cancer”. The incidence of skin cancer is increasing in the world.

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (sometimes known as the “ulcer rhodent” because of its shape like a “rat gnawed”), squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell cancer is a rare form of skin cancer metastasize. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated as an early stage.

Malignant melanoma (malignant means malignant) – consists of cells of abnormal skin pigment, called melanocytes – accounted for only 10% of all cases of skin cancer in the UK. However, if left untreated can spread to other organs (metastasis) and difficult to control. Malignant melanoma causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.

Ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer.

Cumulative sun exposure causes cancer cells especially basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, while exposure to severe sunburn, usually before the age of 18 years, can cause malignant melanoma later in life. Other less common causes are repeated X-ray exposure and exposure to certain chemicals.

Who is at Risk?
Although everyone is potentially suffering from skin cancer, the risk is greatest in people who have skin that freckles or burns easily, the color of bright eyes, and blond or red hair, while dark-skinned individuals are also vulnerable to all types of cancer skin, although substantially lower.

Other risk factors include:

  • A family history or personal history of skin cancer
  • Had outdoor work
  • Live in a sunny climate
  • A history of severe sunburns
  • An abundance of moles are large and irregularly shaped

What are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer?
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a new mole or skin lesion that suddenly appeared.

Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a small lump of wax, refined, are like pearls on the face, ears or neck, or as flat lesions, pink / red or brown color on the back, or arms and legs. The lesions can be itchy and sometimes bloody, but very rarely spreads.

Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a firm red nodule or rough, scaly skin lesions or in the form of a flat which may itch, bleed and become crusty. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma occurs mainly on areas of skin frequently exposed to the sun, but it can happen anywhere.

Malignant melanoma usually appears as a pattern of dots of pigmented or bumps. It may resemble normal moles, but usually has a more irregular appearance with edge color gradation. The most common areas for melanoma is back, legs, arms and face, but they can happen anywhere.

When looking for melanoma, think of the ABCDE rule which provides information signs must be considered:

  • Asymmetry – the shape is not symmetrical mole
  • Border – the edges ragged or blurred
  • Color – The color of the mole is uneven, as there are brown, black, brown, red, white or blue
  • Diameter – melanoma is often larger than normal moles
  • Enlargement (or evolution) – the size or characteristics change over time

How Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
Skin cancer are diagnosed after referral by a general practitioner to a dermatologist, and doctors may recommend a biopsy is performed. Biopsy is to take a tissue sample, which is then placed under a microscope and examined by a physician who specializes in researching skin cells. Sometimes a biopsy may remove all the cancerous tissue and no further treatment is needed.

How Skin Cancer Treated?
Treatment of skin cancer is skin cancer depends on the type, size and location, the development and preferences of the patient.

The standard treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) include:

  • Surgical excision – cutting skin cancer
  • Curettage and electrocautery – physically scraping the cancer cells to the skin followed by electrocautery, use a small electric probe to burn or destroy tissue
  • Cryosurgery or freezing
  • Radiotherapy
  • Drugs – in the form of a cream, liquid, or an ointment.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – a relatively new medication for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma. Having specialized light sensitive drug administration (in the form of a cream) has been applied to the affected area of ​​skin, the light shines on the skin with a powerful, thus activating the drug and killing cancer cells

Treatment of Malignant Melanoma

  • The type of treatment you receive depends on what stage of melanoma were found. The standard treatment includes:
  • wide excision
  • Lymph node mapping (for deeper lesions) – to determine whether the melanoma has spread to local lymph nodes
  • Drugs (chemotherapy, biological response modifiers)
  • Radiotherapy
  • New methods in clinical trials are sometimes used to treat skin cancer

How to Prevent Skin Cancer?
No one really can prevent sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself from the sun. these tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater before going out in the sun. In warmer climates may need a higher SPF, and remember to use waterproof sunscreen if you’ll be in the water
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, including hats
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection
  • Avoid exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible during the peak hours of UV radiation – 11: 00-15: 00
  • The British Association of Dermatologists advised not to use solar lights
  • Check your skin regularly independently, and understand every inch of moles on the body so that it can see any changes or new moles
  • Around 80% of sun exposure a person acquired before the age of 18 years. Thus, protective to your children because of (their skin is more sensitive to the sun) and, as a parent, be a good role model in preventing exposure to sunlight.

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