From the myriad of cancers that can afflict humans, skin cancer or skin neoplasm is the most common. The general tell-tale sign of skin cancer is an alteration in how your skin appears. This could take the form of an abrasion which has not healed, or spots on the skin at times having different colors. Skin cancer types (in order of degree of severity) are mainly three:
- Basal cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma epithelioma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
The first two are the most prevalent different types of skin cancer and are classified under the group of nonmelanoma skin cancer. The last type however is the gravest form of the tumor as it spreads across the organ (metastasizes).
Basal cell carcinoma: This forms the most common type of skin cancer (accounting for over 3/4ths of all cases). It does not have a history of spreading throughout your body. It commonly strikes the areas of face, hands, and the neck. Fortunately, basal cell carcinoma is considered to be highly treatable and the odds of a recovery are bright.
Factors that increase one’s chances of developing this type of skin cancer include exposure to the sun and ultra violet radiation, fair skin, and an advanced age. It manifests itself as a sore, which generally is pink and translucent, or a patch of skin that appears irritated. Lines of treatment followed commonly followed are Curettage and desiccation and surgical excision.
Squamous cell carcinoma: This skin cancer type originates in the squamous cells which can be traced to the tissue forming the skin surface, coating hollow organs and digestive and respiratory tract. It has to tendency to permeate to other organs, the blood stream and at times the nervous system. In its earliest stages (actinic keratosis) it affects the nearly lymph nodes. It is observed usually as a sore which then becomes a larger open lesion and refuses to heal.
Treatment course includes the aforementioned procedures as well as cryosurgery, radiation therapy and creams which stimulate the immune system.
Melanoma: The most severe skin cancer type, its treatment success depends on an early detection. It is even more deadly as it can develop on any part of the body. However, most cases tend to have the arms, legs and torso as the affected sites. It is known to quickly make its way from the lymphatic system to the internal vital organs. The symptoms of a melanoma normally encompass an existing or new mole, spot or freckle which changes size and color rapidly. It may also have an uneven outline. The treatment generally followed for this form of skin cancer is surgery. The extent of surgical intervention depends on the case. When the melanoma has metastasized, immunotherapy may be recommended.
As mentioned earlier, the foremost risk factor responsible for the development skin cancer is exposure to the sun. Especially for the lighter-skinned population, the importance of reducing the time spent in the sun and using sunscreen cannot be underlined any further.
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