skin cancer happens when there is an abnormal growth of the skin cells. this generally occurs on parts of the skin that are most exposed to the sun. this is quite a common form of cancer. this type of cancer can also occur on parts of the skin that are not generally exposed to the sun. this abnormal cell growth has the tendency to spread to other parts of the body. ninety per cent of skin cancer occurs on parts of skin that are exposed to the sun because of the exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays. due to thinning of the ozone layer, the intensity of ultraviolet rays has increased due to which exposure to the sun has become more harmful. people who have lighter skin are generally at more risk of getting affected by these ultraviolet rays.
types of skin cancer
skin cancer has been classified into three main categories. these categories are as follows:-
basal cell carcinoma- t basal cells are a type of cell which is present within the skin. the function of these types of cells is to produce new cells which replace the old dead cells. so basal skin cancer begins in these basal cells.
the appearance of basal cell carcinoma on the skin mostly appears as a bump on the skin which is slightly transparent in nature. this might even take other forms at times. basal cell carcinoma is mostly observed on the parts of the skin which are more than often exposed to the sun. these areas include the face, head, and neck.
the most common cause for basal cell carcinomas is considered to be long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation which occurs from the sunlight. the best way to avoid getting affected by basal cell carcinoma is to avoid the sun and/or use sunscreen in parts of the skin that get the most exposure from the sun.
squamous cell carcinoma-squamous cells make up the outer and middle layers of the skin. a common type of cancer that occurs in these squamous cells is squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
this type of cancer, that is, squamous cell carcinoma is generally not a life threatening cancer. even then, this type of cancer can turn out to be quite aggressive. if the squamous cell carcinoma remains untreated, cancer could keep growing larger and become more aggressive. cancer could even spread to other parts of the body. this could later be a cause of several health complications.
tanning beds, lamps, and sunlight radiate ultraviolet rays a lot. when the squamous cells get prolonged exposure to these ultraviolet rays, squamous cell carcinomas have a chance of developing. the risk of developing squamous cell carcinomas can be reduced if exposed to direct uv radiation can be avoided. the risk of developing other types of skin cancer can also be avoided if the skin is not exposed to uv rays for a long time.
squamous cells are abundantly found in almost every part of your body. hence, squamous cell carcinoma can happen anywhere where squamous cells are present.
melanoma- melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. this type of skin cancer develops in the melanocytes. melanocytes are the cells that are associated with the production of melanin. melanin is a pigment that gives the skin its colour. melanoma generally occurs on the skin but it can also sometimes form in your eyes. also rarely, melanoma has a chance of developing inside your body such as in your throat or your nose. to date, there is not a solid cause for the occurrence of melanoma. it is believed that melanoma can occur due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (uv) radiation. these radiations can come from the sun, tanning beds or tanning lamps. for the reduction of the risk of developing melanoma, exposure to uv radiation should be limited.
for people under the age of 40, the risk of melanoma is increasing. this is true especially in the case of women. if you know the warning signs of skin cancer, it will help you make sure that the cancerous changes on your skin are detected. this will help you get treated before cancer starts spreading to various parts of your body. even though melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer, it can be treated properly if it is detected early.
symptoms of the condition
for different types of skin cancer, there are different types of symptoms. some of the symptoms include ulcers on the skin, skin that do not heal, discolouration of the skin, changes in preexisting moles (for example jagged edges to your previous moles, enlargement of the mole, changes in colour of the mole, the feel of the mole or bleeding of the mole). other than these changes, there are other common signs of skin cancer such as the development of painful lesions. these lesions might be itchy and also might burn. other skin cancer symptoms include darker speckles or large brown spots.
symptoms specific types of skin cancer;
basal-cell skin cancer- basal skin cancer also referred to as bcc, shows symptoms in the form of a smooth, raised bump that is pearly in appearance. these bumps appear on the skin of the neck, torso, head, and shoulders which are sun-exposed. sometimes telangiectasia, which is small blood cells, can be observed within the tumour. in the centre of the tumour, crusting and bleeding develop very frequently. sometimes small blood vessels (called telangiectasia) can be seen within the tumour. sometimes, these symptoms are mistaken as sores that do not heal. this is the least deadly form of skin cancer. it can be eliminated easily with the proper treatment. this does not even leave significant scarring often.
squamous-cell skin cancer- the main symptom and sign for squamous cell cancer, commonly known as scc, is basically a scaling, red, thick patch on the skin that is exposed to the sun. squamous-cell skin cancer (scc) is commonly a red, scaling, thickened patch on sun-exposed skin. some nodules are hard, firm, and dome-shaped like keratoacanthomas. bleeding and ulceration have a chance of occurring. if the squamous cell carcinoma is left untreated, it might develop into a huge mass. this is the most common form of skin cancer. it is more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma but a lot less dangerous than melanoma.
melanoma- melanoma, most of the time, consist of several colours varying from shades of brown to black. sometimes, a tiny amount of melanoma is red, pink, or fleshy in colour. this melanoma tends to be more aggressive than others. this type of melanoma is known as amelanotic melanoma. changes in shape, colour, size and elevation of a mole are the warning signs of malignant melanoma. a few other signs and symptoms of melanoma include the development of a new mole during adulthood, painful moles, itching, ulcers, redness, and so on. “abcde” is a most common use mnemonic to denote the signs and symptoms of melanoma. a refers to asymmetrical, b refers to borders, c refers to colours, d is for diameter, and e denotes evolving.
other- another type of skin cancer is merkel cell carcinoma. this type of skin cancer is the most rapidly growing skin cancer. they are non-tender in nature, red or purple in colour. they are often skin coloured and always not painful or itchy. sometimes they are even mistaken for a cyst or any other type of cancer.
risk factors involved with the disease
skin cancer can be developed in any individual. but individuals with these factors are at more risk of developing skin cancer. the risk factors are as follows:
people with a lighter natural skin colour have the tendency to be more affected by the harmful uv radiation. this puts them at a greater risk of developing skin cancer.
sensitive skin that burns freckles or reddens in the presence of sunlight.
people who have green or blue eyes.
people with certain skin types and a large number of moles on their skin.
if an individual has a family history of skin cancer, it puts them at risk of developing skin cancer.
how is this condition diagnosed
skin cancer or any type of cancer is diagnosed by the process of biopsy. in this method, a sample of the skin tissue is extracted. this sample is then tested in labs to look for any abnormal growths in the skill cells.
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