Skin cancer is one of the most common and most commonly diagnosed neoplastic processes. Skin cancer is classified as melanoma and non-melanoma, with 95% of skin cancers being non-melanoma and only about 5% being melanoma.
Skin cancer: What you need to know – 2022
Skin cancer is one of the most common and most commonly diagnosed neoplastic processes.
Skin cancer is classified as melanoma and non-melanoma, with 95% of skin cancers being non-melanoma and only about 5% being melanoma. However, malignant melanoma is responsible for about 90% of deaths.
Malignant skin formations are due to abnormal growth of cells in the skin. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of skin cancer, most likely due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation, heredity or visits to solar studios. Diagnosis is not complicated for a professional. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are the guarantee for the final cure of patients.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma.
- Squamous cell carcinoma.
- Melanoma malignancy.
The spread of skin cancer is directly proportional to the amount and intensity of ultraviolet radiation reaching the relevant geographical area and the hours spent by the patient outdoors, regardless of whether he is at work or on holiday.
People with occupations related to outdoor living are at high risk of developing skin cancer – sailors, agricultural workers, builders; people with hobbies associated with prolonged exposure to UV radiation – yachtsmen, surfers, kaites, etc.
Factors that are also important for the appearance of skin cancer are ionizing radiation, contact with co-carcinogens (tars, mineral oils, phototoxic preparations).
Immunocompromised patients – with organ transplantation and accompanying immunosuppressive therapy, patients with skin precancerous lesions – actinic, senile keratosis, keratoacanthomas, leukoplakia, lichen sclerosis and atrophy, frostbite or scarring and scars.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. It mainly affects the elderly, but recently the age limit has decreased significantly and can be seen in young people with type II and less often type III skin. Symptoms include the appearance of a nodule or sore, bleeding, and with minimal trauma, the appearance of pearls in the periphery. The most common locations are exposed parts of the skin of the body – face, scalp and décolleté. It almost never metastasizes, but is aggressive only to underlying tissues, which it consumes slowly.
Squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma) is significantly more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. It appears on previous precancerous lesions, phototraumed skin – actinic or solar keratoses, keratoacnamotomies and others. It develops on the semi-mucous membranes in smokers, in the presence of leukoplakia, leukokeratosis and others. Smoking, alcohol and chronic trauma favor the appearance of this cancer on the lips, tongue and buccal mucosa. May metastasize to regional lymph nodes. Surgical intervention could lead to a definitive cure, provided the diagnosis is timely.
The symptoms that should alert us are:
- Bleeding of the formation with minimal trauma.
- Crater ulceration.
- Changes in the color, shape and thickness of a previous mole.
- Burning pain.
Diagnosis is made by examination, dermatoscopy and skin biopsy.
Treatment is usually successful, provided the diagnosis is made in time. Surgical removal is the most successful treatment.
Alternative methods are: photodynamic therapy, cryotherapy, chemical destruction of tumor lesions.
Malignant melanoma is the most aggressive cancer a person can develop. At the time of diagnosis (by examination or dermatoscopy) it is already possible to have distant metastases. Therefore, we must be careful to remove potentially dangerous moles prophylactically, to prevent sunburn, regardless of age, not to apply external irritants and irritants before exposure to UV radiation. If we have relatives with melanoma, we must check our moles every 6 months. If there is even the slightest suspicion of the presence of dysplastic nevi, they are removed in a timely manner. This eliminates the risk of transforming them into malignant melanoma.
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight between 10:00 and 16:00. Wear loose clothing, hats and sunglasses. If you are on the beach, apply sunscreens or lotions with high and broad spectrum factor (UVA, UVB).
If you are a fan of water sports, apply waterproof sunscreens.
It is important to know that even in cloudy weather, about 75% of UV radiation penetrates and can cause skin burns. In winter, the sun is even more dangerous because it is reflected by the snow and their effect is intensified.
If you have a parent or close relative with skin cancer, check your moles every 6 months with a dermatologist.
If you have had multiple sunburns or your profession involves prolonged sun exposure, share it with your dermatologist.
Prophylactic examinations of moles should be performed every 6 months or 1 year.
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