Clinical Dermatology
Skin cancer
Information on Skin Cancer
The skin is the cloth of the body protecting it heat, light, injuries and infections. It regulates body temperature and stores water, fat and vitamin D. It is the largest organ of the body and consists of the outer layer, the epidermis, and the inner layer, the dermis.

Skin cancer is a type of cancer that develops on the skin. It is due to the development of abnormal cells, which have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. According to surveys, more than 40% of the population will develop skin cancer sometime in their life up to 70 years. A primary suspect for skin cancer is sunlight that consists of UVA and UVB rays. Although UVB is the cause of burns, scientists consider UVA rays responsible for skin cancer, because they penetrate deeper into the skin. Artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation, such as solarium, can also cause skin cancer.
Although everyone may develop skin cancer, the risk is greatest in people with light skin, red or blond hair and light-colored eyes. They are also more overweight people living in areas with high concentrations of ultraviolet radiation, such as West Africa and Australia. Most skin cancers appear after 50, but the devastating effects of the sun start earlier. So, sun protection should start from childhood so that skin cancer can be prevented as much as possible later on.

What Are The Basic Types Of Skin Cancer?
Like many types of cancer, skin cancer begins with pre-cancerous lesions. These precancerous lesions are skin changes that are not cancer, but could turn into cancer over time. The most common types of skin cancer are:
  • Melanoma: It is a type of skin cancer that starts with melanocytes. It's not one of the most common types of skin cancer, but it can take aggressive form and do metastasis in other organs of the body, such as liver and eyes.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): It is the most common form of skin cancer and is so called because it usually occurs in the skin's basic layer. The majority of skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas that occur mainly in adults and more often in men than in women. It spreads slowly and manifests itself in a number of ways, such as a white rash with obvious vascularity, ears, throat or face. It can also be flat and peel, have the same shade of the skin or be brown in color. This form of cancer is the least lethal and with the appropriate treatment it has a healing rate of about 95%, and in many cases, without scarring.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): It is the second most common onset skin cancer after basal cell carcinoma and starts from the middle layer of the epidermis, the squamous cells. It is often seen in the elderly, people who are exposed to the sun because of the profession, people with very white skin, people who often visit solarium, and patients receiving immunosuppressive therapy after, for example, organ transplantation. Streptococcal carcinoma is more aggressive cancer than basal cell carcinoma. It can metastasize to other places, such as lymph nodes or internal organs, although this is not so common. This type of skin cancer usually manifests as a solid, red rash that peels or bleeds or as a wound that does not heal. It occurs more often in the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, and hands, ie in places that are more exposed to the sun.
How Can Skin Cancer Be Treated?
Treatment depends on the type of cancer, the site of growth, the age of the patient, and whether this is primary cancer or is the result of relapse. The most common treatments are:
  • Surgery: Most cancers can be cut from the skin easily and quickly either by scraping or using the Mohs technique. Both methods are applied after local anesthesia by qualified physicians so as to minimize the wound and scar. Samples are sent directly for biopsy.
  • Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen spreads to the affected area to freeze and kill abnormal cells. After the area has defrosted, the dead tissue is detached, and the process is repeated until the tumor is completely removed. This treatment is used in precancerous skin conditions, but also in specific small skin cancers. The procedure is not painful, but it may occasionally appear after the thaw of the area. There may be a slight scar in the treated area.
  • Laser: A very narrow laser beam is used to destroy cancer cells. Laser therapy is sometimes applied to cancers only of the outer layer of the skin.
  • Radiotherapy: High-energy radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and stop their growth. It is usually applied in areas that are difficult to operate, such as the eyes and the tip of the nose. After irradiation, rash, redness or dryness may occur in the applied area, and the texture of the skin may also change.
  • Local Chemotherapy: In this treatment, anti-cancer drugs are applied to the skin as a cream. Local chemotherapy is useful in skin cancers that are confined to the superficial layer of the epidermis. Often intense irritation occurs during treatment, but usually no scarring.
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