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Different Types of Skin Cancer

Mar 29, 2017

Different Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a local abnormal growth or cancer of skin. There are three main types of skin cancers: basal-cell skin cancer , squamous-cell skin cancer and melanoma. Basal-cell skin cancer is the least dangerous and most common type. With proper treatment it can be completely cured. It appears as a raised, pearly, smooth bump on the skin which is more exposed to the sun. Bleeding and crusting occurs in the core of the tumor. Squamous-cell skin cancer is the second most common skin cancer. It forms as a scaling, red, thickened patch on sun-exposed skin. A few may be dome shaped which are firm hard nodules. Bleeding and ulceration might occur. It is dangerous and can build up into a large mass if not treated. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer and can potentially cause death once they spread. It is brown or black in color. It constantly grows in size, is asymmetrical and has irregular borders. It may have itching, ulceration, redness and bleeding.

Causes that result in Skin Cancer

  • UV rays of sun
  • Smoking tobacco
  • HPV infections
  • Ionizing radiation such as X-rays
  • environmental carcinogens,
  • artificial UV radiation

Diagnostics & Treatment

Skin biopsy: a sample of the lesion is removed, processed and examined under microscope.  Treatment of skin cancers is done by Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy and Radiotherapy. In some cases surgical intervention is required such as Mohs surgery – which is an accurate surgical procedure wherein thin layers of skin which contains cancer if gradually removed and analyzed till only cancer-free tissue remains. This procedure is also called Mohs micrographic surgery.

Latest Developments In The Field Of Skin Cancer

Prevention is the order of the day and these days Chemoprevention, i.e., the use of drugs to reduce cancer risk is being used for people who have history of cancers. Targeted therapy drugs known as hedgehog pathway inhibitors might cure people suffering from basal cell nevus syndrome. For instance, the drug vismodegib (Erivedge) lowers the amount of new basal cell cancers and also shrinks already living tumors in basal cell nevus syndrome patients. Some new approaches like “optical biopsies” which include reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) have recently started being used to diagnosis of skin cancer; do not entail any skin sample to be removed. 

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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