Skin Cancer / Melanoma - Health Center
Skin Cancer / Melanoma
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Melanoma– Living It, Surviving It
Melanoma, which is also commonly known as skin cancer is known to be an abnormal growth in the number of the skin cells. Often one of the major reasons for the occurrence of this is the overexposure of the person to the UV Radiations of the sun. Being known as one of the most common kinds of cancer, Melanoma is also known to occur in the regions which are not in direct area of exposure with the radiations of the sun.
Though Skin Cancer has come to be known as one of the most common kind of cancers, it can be easily treated with the timely detection and proper medication.
Causes for Skin Cancer:
Apart from the overexposure to the UV Radiations of the skin, one of the other major reasons for the occurrence of skin cancer in the mutation or genetic errors in the DNA of the affected person. When these mutations take place within the DNA, then it causes the cells to grow out enormously and therefore, causing the growth of the cells goes out of control. This further leads to the creation of a mass of cancerous cells, causing melanoma.
Some of the different cells which are involved in the production of cancer are as follows:
Since the beginning of skin cancer starts with the outermost cells of a person’s body i.e the epidermis; three major kinds of skin cells are most affected by Skin cancer.
- Squamous Cells: These are the ones which lie on the outermost surface of a person’s skin and therefore, act as the inner lining of the skin.
- Basal Cells: These are the ones which are responsible for the production of the new skin cells in the body and they lie beneath the squamous epithelial cells.
- Melanocytes: These are the cells which are responsible for the production of melanin - the pigment which is responsible for the production of the skin colour of a person.
The area for the origination of the skin cancer is the one determinant which determines the type of cancer as well as the treatment options available.
UV Radiations and other causes:
Another major reason for the occurrence of Melanoma is the damage which is caused to the DNA of the affected person from the UV (Ultraviolent radiations) of the sunlight. However, this does not go to determine that the UV rays are the sole reason for the occurrence of skin cancer. Therefore, some of the other factors which determine the skin cancer in the affected person can come out to be the over exposure of the person to toxic substances, which goes out to weaken the immune system of the person.
Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer:
Though it is a very well known fact that skin cancer develops only in the areas which are over exposed to the sunlight, which includes, scalp, skin, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms as well as hands and legs. But, other areas such as palms, fingertips and toenails can also be affected by the cancer.
People of all skin tones are susceptible towards developing melanoma. One particular misconception is that people with a darker complexion are at a lower risk of contracting skin cancer. However, the truth is that melanoma occurs in people of darker complexion as well.
Some of the major signs and symptoms for Melanoma are as follows:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is the one which occurs in the areas that are exposed to the sun. These consist mainly of the neck and face of the affected person. The symptoms of this are as follows:
- Waxy bumps over the affected regions
- Scar like lesions all over the affected areas
- Flat scars all over the affected regions
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the one which occurs all over the body due to the overexposure towards the UV rays. People having a darker complexion are the ones which are at a higher risk of contracting this kind of melanoma. The signs and symptoms of this are as follows:
- Firm as well as red nodules all over the body
- Flat lesions with scaly and crusted surface all over the body
However, some of the most common signs and symptoms for Melanoma are as follows:
- Creation of a brownish spot with speckles all over it.
- Creation of moles that tend to change in their colour or size over the period of time
- Small lesions all over the body with irregular borders that may appear to be red, white or blue in colour.
- Creation of dark lesions all over the soles, fingertips as well as the toes of the affected person.
It is recommended to take a consultation with the doctor as soon as you observe any of these symptoms.
Tests and Diagnosis for Skin Cancer:
In order to diagnose the skin cancer, the doctor may use some of the following mentioned measures.
- Skin Examination: The doctor looks at the skin of the affected person in order to look for the changes that accompany skin cancer. Though further testing is needed to ascertain, this is one of the primary ways for the determination of skin cancer.
- Removal of Skin: Also known popularly as Skin Biopsy, this includes the removal of the suspicious skin area of the person and sending it for the lab testing. This biopsy can come out to conclude if the person is suffering from skin cancer or not.
After the initial determination of the cancer, the next step is to determine the stage of the cancer. The superficial cancers spread very rarely. Doctors use the Roman numerals I to IV in order to determine the stage of the cancer. Stage I Cancer is very small and is restricted to only a certain area of the body. However, Stage IV of Cancer is quite advanced in the stage and has the capacity to spread to the other areas of the body.
The determination of the stage is very important in order to choose the treatment options for the patient.
Treatment Options For Skin Cancer:
Actinic Keratoses is the name of the treatment option which is used for skin cancer. the treatment option varies on the basis of the lesion size. Some other additional treatments for Skin cancer are as follows:
- Freezing: This is the method in which the actinic Kerasotes helps to destroy the lesions with the help of freezing the lesions in an environment of liquid nitrogen. This treatment is also known as Cryosurgery.
- Surgery: this treatment is used for different kinds of skin cancers. In this, the doctors cut out the cancerous tissue of the affected person. The wide incision is made and this extra skin is removed.
- Mohs Surgery: This kind of treatment is used for the larger cancers. This can be used both for the basal as well as the Squamous cell carcinomas. In this surgery, the doctor goes out to remove the layers of the skin until no cancer is detected.
- Radiation Therapy: In this the high powered X Rays are used for the killing of the cancer cells. This treatment option is considered by doctors for cases where the cancer cells are not removed completely by surgery.
- Chemotherapy: In this treatment option, drugs are used for killing of the cancer cells. Creams and lotions are recommended for the killing of the cells in the uppermost layer of the skin. Also, systematic chemotherapy is used for treating the skin cancers which have spread to the other parts of the body.