Skin cancer is a cancer that arises from epithelial cells of the skin. The disease can develop in almost anyone, regardless of gender and age. However, due to a number of reasons there are certain groups of people that are particularly at risk. These groups include the elderly (mostly over the age of 60), light-skinned people and those who spend a lot of time in the sun.
Theoretically, skin cancer can develop from any mole on any exposed area of the body. If the mole has at least one cancer cell which is able to activate and start to develop rapidly, the chances of developing skin cancer increase.
Unfortunately, according to statistics, skin cancer takes up the 3rd place among other oncological diseases.
The most common form of skin cancer is
- basal-cell skin cancer,
- less common squamous-cell skin cancer, the so-called melanoma,
- a form of cancer that develops in the skin appendages.
Most often, cancer affects such areas of the body as the face (forehead, nose, temporal region, ears, and eye corners); nevertheless, other areas of the body are no exception.
1Symptoms and illustrations of skin cancer
Cancer is a very dangerous disease because it can lay hidden for a long time and, therefore, is diagnosed at the time when successful treatment is less possible, that is, at a later stage.
In such cases, it is very important for the person to pay attention to their health, seek timely and regular treatment and undergo an examination in case of any doubt.
The most apparent skin cancer symptoms are:
- The constant feeling of fatigue, exhaustion from any kind of activity;
- Weight loss for no apparent reason such as physical activity or a stressful situation;
- Loss of appetite, unwillingness to eat;
- Continued temperature (usually around 37 ° C);
- Enlarged lymph nodes, clearly palpable;
- Change of the color, shape, or an enlargement of the mole;
- In the later stages there appears such symptom as pain;
2Causes of the development of skin cancer
Skin cancer can occur in almost every human being. But the most susceptible to this disease are the following groups of people:
- Fair-skinned people, who genetically have lower level of melanin in the skin;
- Elderly people;
- Genetically predisposed to the development of tumors;
- Having a disease that belongs to the list of pre-cancerous conditions;
- Bowen’s disease;
- Erythroplasia Keir;
- Xeroderma pigmentosum;
- Keratome senile;
- Cutaneous horn;
- Potentially malignant pigmented nevi;
- Other chronic inflammatory skin diseases;
- Subjected to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation;
- Those who smoke;
In addition, the other causes of the development of skin cancer are:
- Exposure of skin to certain chemicals which have dangerous carcinogenic effect. These substances include tar, components of tobacco products, lubricants, arsenic and its compounds;
- Incorrect, inadequate diet, consumption of a large amount of harmful carcinogenic substances. These are products containing nitrates, nitrites, also any smoked, canned or pickled products containing a lot of fat;
- The impact of radiation on the skin;
- Exposure of the skin to thermal radiation or other thermal factors;
- Mechanical damage (injury, cut) of a mole;
- Traumatic injury of a scarred tissue on the skin;
- As complications of radiation dermatitis;
- The occurrence of cancer in the burned area of the skin.
3Stages of cancer
First, the zero stage – cancer cells affect mainly the upper layers of the skin, tumor thickness not exceeding 2 mm. This stage of cancer is often entirely curable.
The second stage – tumor thickness is 4 mm. Provided an adequate treatment, the chance of survival is 50%;
The third stage – there are metastases in the lymphatic system, severe visible lesions. Chances are 30%;
The fourth stage – cancer spreads to other parts of the body. The survival rate is very low, only 20%.
4Diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer
If you are concerned about any unexplained symptoms, and at the same time you notice a change in your health condition, you must consult your doctor immediately. Not everyone knows that the timely diagnosis and, consequently, the treatment started in the early stages significantly increase the chances of a successful healing.
Modern medicine has a huge variety of methods of detection and confirmation of this diagnosis. The methods are:
- Blood test for the specific tumor markers. Unfortunately, this test is carried out only for a certain organ or organ system. Therefore, one needs to undergo a lot of such tests to detect cancer. As a result, such method is used when the estimated localization of the disease is known, for confirmation, so to speak;
- Screening tests;
- Histological studies;
- Cytological studies;
Self-examination of a person at home is of great importance. Provided a regular and careful inspection the person may be his own diagnostician.
When choosing a method of treatment not only the stage of the cancer is taken into account, but also the physiological characteristics of the body, the patient’s age, location and type of cancer. An adequately chosen treatment gives a 50% success rate in the treatment of skin cancer.
- Radiation therapy is the main method of treatment. It helps in the early stages;
- Drug therapy is also helpful for treatment in the initial stages;
- Surgery helps to get rid of pathological tissue in most cases;
- Modern techniques are: cryosurgery, laser photocoagulation;
- Traditional methods of treating skin cancer are: yeast or juniper compress.
5Prevention of the disease
In order to develop appropriate rules which help in the prevention of skin cancer, it is important to study and eliminate the causes of the disease.
- Light-skinned people are ought to be careful with staying in the sun by following the rules and regulations;
- People with diseases of the skin are ought to undergo timely and quality treatment;
- It is important to undergo the planned preventive examination, regardless of their state of health;
- Quit smoking;
- Exclude products that have carcinogenic effects from the diet;
- Limit the impact of substances adversely affecting the skin (radiation, chemistry).
According to statistics, a death from skin cancer is much less common than from any other type of cancer, but, yet, the best option is a timely prevention of this disease.