Skin cancer is defined as having abnormal growth of skin cells. Generally, this cancer usually develops on skin areas that are often exposed to the sun. However, some common cancer types may occur on your skin in areas not often exposed to sunlight.
Typically, there are three possible forms of cancer, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and carcinoma. You can prevent your skin from this cancer risk by avoiding or limiting the UV (ultraviolet) rays exposure. Be sure to be checking for suspicious changes on your skin as it may help you discover this cancer before it develops into its advanced stages. Successful treatment of skin usually depends on early detection.
To detect this cancer, the doctor may recommend for:
- Skin examination. If you are experiencing some skin changes, the doctor will have to determine if they are cancer-related or not by examining your skin. Additionally, some tests might be necessary to confirm the finding.
- Skin biopsy. This involves removing a sample of your suspicious skin, which the lab tech will use to determine whether you have cancer. With a skin biopsy, your doctor will evaluate possible cancer threats and the type of positive results.
Determining the Stage of Your Cancer
Once you are diagnosed with this cancer, the next thing would be determining the stage at which the cancer is. The doctor will recommend some additional tests to confirm this. Some this cancer types like basal cell carcinoma hardly spread, and hence to determine its extent, a test is needed. The only test to determine this would be through a biopsy that involves removing your entire growth.
Your doctor can recommend additional tests when the tests confirm large Merkel cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma which will help determine their stages. The additional test may take some imaging tests, where the surrounding lymph nodes are typically examined for cancer signs. Another test could involve removing the surrounding lymph node and have them tested for cancer signs.
Normally, your doctor will represent the stage results using the Roman numbers. Stage I cancer is usually small and limited to its area of origin. Stage IV results show that you are in an advanced cancer stage. This means that cancer has spread beyond its area of origin to other parts of your body. By determining the stage of this cancer, your doctor will be able to dentine the effective treatment for your condition.
The Top Treatment for this Cancer
Generally, various factors will determine the type of treatment that best suits your condition for best results. Some of the main factors include the location, size, depth, and size of the cancer. For instance, a skin biopsy might be a recommendable treatment for small skin cancers. This involves eliminating the entire skin growth. However, some cancer stages may require various approaches, including:
The doctor may use cryosurgery (liquid nitrogen) to destroy some small and actinic keratosis cancer. The liquid nitrogen helps in freezing the cancer cells hence killing them. The dead tissues usually marshes off after warming up.
2. Mohs Surgery
Generally, this treatment is mostly used in treating recurring, larger, or hard-to-doctor skin cancers, including squamous cell carcinomas and basal. Additionally, it is a recommendable treatment for the area where it is significant to conserve the skin, like the nose.
The procedure involves removing layers of the skin growth until the abnormal cells are no more. Mohs surgery has the advantage because the cancer cell is usually released without destroying the nearby healthy skin.
3. Excisional Surgery
The procedure involves cutting out of the cancerous tissue together with the nearby area of your healthy skin. In some cases, your doctor may find it appropriate for a wide excision, eliminating extra normal skin surrounding the tumor. This procedure is usually appropriate for most forms of cancer.
4. Cryotherapy or Curettage and Electrodessication
Once your doctor removes most skin growth, they may use a cure, a circular blade device, to burn off cancer layer cells. By so doing, your doctor will help you destroy any remaining cancer cells.
Additionally, liquid nitrogen may be applied to freeze the edges and base of your treated area. It is a simple, quick treatment applied in managing squamous cell cancers or basal cell cancers.
This treatment option involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Lotions or creams having anti-cancer agents are recommended for treating top layer, limited cancer. In addition, systemic chemotherapy is used to manage advanced cancer spread to other body areas.
6. Radiation Therapy
If it is impossible to eliminate cancer is surgery, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. It uses energy beams like X-rays to destroy skin and other cancer cells.
7. Biological Therapy
This type of therapy uses the body’s defense system to destroy cancer cells.
8. Photodynamic Therapy
This procedure involves combining some drugs with laser light to destroy cancer cells.
The most effective way of minimizing cancer risk is by keeping off direct sun rays and other possible UV radiation sources. Additionally, it is recommendable to observe the following tips in reducing cancer risks.
- Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds.
- Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
- Avoid direct sunlight exposure, especially around10 a.m. – 4 p.m., by remaining indoors or staying in the shade on a sunny day.
- Wear clothes that will help you cover most of your body during daylight hours.
- Apply lip balm and sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 and above before going out on a sunny day. And be sure to keep reapplying during the day.
In addition, it would be best if you keep examining your skin for new changes, including spots and growths. Be sure to see your specialist if you notice suspicious changes. Also, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in improving your skin outlook.
Be sure to schedule regular appointments with the doctor for a skin examination. This will help you to determine the causes of your skin changes, if any.