Skin cancer usually originates from the cells that line up along the membrane separating the deeper layer of the skin to the superficial layer. Though skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, when detected on time, it is also one of the easiest to treat.
Basal-Cell Carcinoma (BCC) – It is the most common type of skin cancer that grows slowly. It appears as a painless raised area of skin, which is typically treated by surgical removal. However, in rare cases, targeted therapy and chemotherapy can also be done.
Melanoma – Malignant melanoma develops from pigment-containing cells that are known as melanocytes. Melanoma typically appears on the skin, however, in rare instances, it may occur in the intestines, mouth or eyes. It is termed as the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
Squamous Cell Skin Carcinoma – It appears as a hard lump and is more likely to spread to other areas of the body. The treatment is usually surgery, however, in distant spread cases, biologic therapy or chemotherapy may be used.
Any scrap or bruise that does not heal within a few weeks may indicate skin cancer. The signs of different types of skin cancer share almost the same symptoms. So, it is important to consult a reputed medical professional in any oncology hospital for a detailed analysis and early treatment. Here are the ABCDE of skin cancer to look for:
(A) Asymmetry – irregular shape of any mole, bump or open sore
(B) Border – blurry edges with an irregular shape
(C) Colour – any mole that has more than one color
(D) Diameter – larger than 6 mm (pencil eraser)
(E) Evolution – the most important signs to look for are enlarging, changing in shape, color, or size of the mole or bump
The common risk factors for skin cancer include –
Though skin cancer can affect anyone regardless the skin color, people with less pigmentation (melanin) in their skin have a higher chance of developing skin cancer. The lower the amount of melanin, the higher the damage from UV rays.
People with red or blond hair, sunburn or freckle skin and light-colored eyes are at a higher risk of developing skin
Anyone with a history of blistering sunburns
Spending a considerable time in the sun without covering the skin with clothing or sunscreen can put anyone at risk of skin cancer. On the other hand, tanning beds and lamps can also aggravate the disease
People who live in an area that experiences more sunlight or with a warm climate are at a higher risk than those living in colder regions.
Those with abnormal moles (Dysplastic Nevi) on the body are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Any mole that looks abnormal should be brought to immediate attention to any specialized doctor in a cancer hospital.
Another risk factor for skin cancer is family history. If anyone in the family (parents, siblings, blood relative) has had skin cancer, the risk of the disease increases in other blood relatives.
People who have had skin cancer in the past have a high risk of developing it again.
People previously treated for eczema and acne through radiation have an increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
Prolonged exposure to arsenic is also linked to skin cancer.
Prevention Tips for Skin Cancer
The good thing about skin cancer is that it can be prevented unless there is no family history of the disease. Here are a few ways to keep skin cancer away:
Never spend more than an hour in direct sunlight
Protect the face and ears with a hat or soft cloth
To avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, wear long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
Sunglasses to keep the eyes protected
Lip balm with sunscreen
Consulting a specialist in case of any changing mole
Skin cancer can be easily cured if detected at an early stage and before it has spread to other areas. The earlier this disease is detected the easier are the chances of full recovery. It is important to get a regular check-up done every six months to be 100% sure about your well-being. Many of the best cancer hospitals in Delhi like Max Healthcare have an outstanding panel of healthcare professionals that have years of experience in treating skin cancer and giving a new ray of hope to the ones affected.