Skin cancer- an overview

One of the most frequent cancer types, skin cancer is marked by the cancerous growth on skin. The growth can be of differing degrees and range. Its is not just adults who suffer from skin cancer. There are a lot of cases of adolescent and pediatric cancer coming up.

Some of the common skin cancer types

  • Basal cell carcinoma- Likely to originate in shoulders, neck and head; the malignancy presents itself as a smooth lesion on the sun tanned areas of the mentioned regions.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)- also tends to center around the sun tanned areas of the skin. The malignant type shows up as firm nodule like growth. The patchy thickness can also develop into a large muscular mass. Learn more about SCC here.

  • Melanoma- is one of the common cancer types, which manifest as lesions of varying colors. It tends to originate from that of a mole.Learn more about Melanoma here.
  • Actinic Keratosis- The abnormal formation of this type generally leads to the growth of squamous cell carcinoma.

Causes of skin cancer

  • Harmful UV rays of the sun primarily contribute to skin cancer.
  • Tobacco and smoking also have deals to offer.
  • Genetic factors are partly responsible.
  • Wounds and ulcers which don't heal easily are the other known factors.
  • Prolonged exposure to the carcinogens of the environment including that of radioactive elements is one of the causes of skin cancer.
  • Attempts at artificial tanning are equally responsible for skin cancer.

Likely regions of origin

Particularly the sun tanned parts of the skin.

It can include different parts similarly exposed including hands, arms, face and its different features.

Genital areas and beads of the nails are some of the likely seats of origin. Underside of feet, toes and scalp can also be affected by means of this cancer.

Symptoms of skin cancer

Symptoms are mostly category specific

They vary according to the type and category of skin cancer. But the symptom most common to all the types is the occurrence of a sore like patch on the skin- the sore which is difficult to heal.

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma

  • Tumor or smoothened bumps are likely to appear
  • Tumor or the bump like formation may be marked by the presence of blood vessels.
  • There may be patches of red as well.
  • It can also manifest itself as a firm patchy lesion with a brownish outlining.

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma

  • The malignant form in squamous cell carcinoma generally takes on a crust like formation of the irregular type.
  • Nodular erosion with reddish patches is one of the relevant symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • On account of this cancer type, one can also expect heap like formation on the seat of origin.
  • Parts affected by the cancer type may be marked by itchiness. Itchiness may also lead to bleeding and take on an ulcerate formation.

Symptoms of melanoma

  • Existence of moles may be one of the symptomatic conditions of melanoma.
  • But most of them originate in forms of lesions or spots which are pigmented.
  • The lesion giving way to melanoma skin cancer can also be changeable in nature- undergoing changes in respect of its color, shape and size.
  • The lesion may be brownish, bluish with tings of white and that which is multicolored.
  • It can also begin in patchy pigments of irregular kinds.

Different stages of skin cancer

Some of the factors determine the staging

The rate of metastasis, to what extent the cancer has percolated the other skin layers and if the malignancy has influenced the lymph nodes determine the orientation towards staging of skin cancer.

There are four stages of skin cancer

In the first stage, the developing tumor/lesion is around or less than two centimeters.

In the next stage, size exceeding the given dimension may be expected.

The next or the third stage of skin cancer is marked by rapid metastasis where the cancer starts affecting the cartilage and the interior layers of the skin. Consequently, muscle, tissues of the bone and lymph nodes are likely to be affected at this stage.

In the final and the last stage, the other body parts/organs are affected as well.

Curability of skin cancer

Skin cancer has good chances of curability - That is what experts and the researching faculty feel about skin cancer.

At which stage, the cancer is detected has interesting deals to offer with respect of curability. In the initial stages of development, that is to say more specifically in the first as well as second stage, skin cancer including the potentially harmful melanoma is curable. Read more about squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis and treatment

Basal cell carcinoma has even higher rate of curability than melanoma

This is because the former variety hardly tends to spread when compared to the life threatening deals of melanoma. The malignant growth affecting the basal cell is marked by slow rate of progression.

Treatments of skin cancer

Some of the traditional modes of treatment

Most skin cancers can be successfully treated with surgery of a minor kind. Surgical extraction of the developing scar is more than sufficient in most. Cryo-surgery is another option.

In cases, where the cancer has been found to have metastasized sufficiently, secondary options in chemo and immunotherapy may be resorted to.

Natural treatments of skin cancer

Care regimen of the individual patient

Care regimen which is one of the effective deals of natural treatment for skin cancer can be done individually by the affected patient.

The part affected needs to be protected from the harmful exposure to sunlight

Care regimen of the individual patient also includes the regular use of sun protection.

Nutritional supplements and natural treatment of skin cancer

Supplements based on multivitamin, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Selenium, Zinc and Folic Acid have their roles to play in the supportive/natural treatment of skin cancer.

Regular consumption of oil extracted from flaxseed and olive is one of the aspects of the natural treatment of skin cancer.

Nutritional supplements are often recommended alongside of the other traditional modes of treatment including chemotherapy.

Eggplant and skin cancer

According to a recent piece of finding, a substance found in eggplant has been found conducive to skin cancer cure. Solasodine glycoside content of egg plant has been proved to be significantly effective in the natural treatment of skin cancer.

The curative content of eggplant has been effectively used as cream in course of clinical tryouts.

Red clover and skin cancer

Extracts of the mentioned herb are also known for preventing the metastasis of the cancerous formation. It resists the formation of fresh chains of blood vessels that the developing tumor needs to thrive on.

Demography affected by skin cancer

Light skin type

This type is more likely to be in the throes of skin malignancy.

Young people with focus on tanning

Those with fads for tanning are to be included in the risky bracket as well.

Men are more risk prone

Men more than women are more risk prone to skin cancer. Prolonged and unabated exposure to UV rays of the sun may be one of the contributing factors.

Ways to prevent skin cancer

Shielding the harmful deals of UV rays

It can be ensured by the use of pertinent protective wears and use of sunscreen which block rays of UVA as well as those of UVB. Sunscreen with a broad protective spectrum needs to be put into regular use to counter the harmful rays of the sun.

Nutritious ways to prevent skin cancer

Four to five helpings of fruits as well vegetables, particularly those enriched with selenium, Vitamin C, antioxidants and beta-carotene can serve to prevent skin cancer.

Use of olive oil as the medium of cooking needs to be resorted to in place of mediums offered by sunflower as well as safflower. Use of the latter varieties adds to the risks of skin cancer.

Avoid using tanning beds

Avoid the use of tanning beds or any other artificial means of tanning. Natural attempts at tanning need to be avoided as well. Both artificial as well as natural means of tanning are conducive to the development of skin cancer. Use of tanning beds is one of the risky antecedents. So, they need to be avoided at all costs.

Survival rate of skin cancer

Age has an important role to play

As with any other cancer type, with respect of the skin cancer also, age plays an important deal in influencing the survival rate. After the limit of seventy, the rate of survival for skin cancer tends to decrease.

According to the stages of development

The following data has been provided by the American Cancer Society, according to the research carried out over a cross section of around sixty thousand patients.

Stages of cancer Survival rate over a span of five years Survival rate over a span of ten years
1A 97% 95%
1B 92% 86%
2A 81% 67%
2B 70% 57%
2C 53% 40%
3A 78% 68%
3B 59% 43%
3C 40% 24%
4th stage 15%- 20% 10%- 15%