A variety of reasons can cause malignant cells to develop in the tissues of the skin. This condition is called skin cancer. Although a type of cancer, skin cancer is quite curable if detected early. So, if you find an unusual spot or lump on your skin or a part of your skin that shows signs of discolouration or changes in size or shape in any way, you must not delay to consult a doctor. The doctor will remove a part of the affected skin and send it to a laboratory for a biopsy. A biopsy will be able to confirm the presence of malignant cells in the skin. It takes almost a week for the results of a biopsy to come in.
The doctor prescribes a particular course of treatment depending on the type of cancer, the stage it has reach and also its location. The three most common types of skin cancer are BCC, SCC and melanoma. SCC or Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the types of cancer that occurs due to the formation of malignant cells in the epidermis of the skin. BCC or basal cell carcinoma develops in the basal cells that surround the squamous cells of the epidermis. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. The human skin has cells called melanocytes that produce the skin-colouring pigment melanin. When these melanocytes turn cancerous, the condition is called melanoma or malignant melanoma.
While deciding upon the best treatment option, the doctor takes into account the patient's age and general health as well. The most effective forms of treatment are surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, freezing and scraping.
The most effective treatment for skin cancer is surgery. Now there are different types of surgery that can be performed depending on the type and stage of cancer. If the skin has developed a small cancerous part, that part of the skin can be easily removed by performing excisional surgery. If the affected portion of the skin is bigger in size, some of the nearbuy skin may have to be removed as well and the patient may need skin grafting to cover the area. Moh's Micrographic surgery is another technique in which the affected skin is removed a tissue at a time and examined under the microsope. The process is continued till no cancer cell is left in the skin. If the cancer is very small, instead of removing it, the doctor freezes and kills the cancerous cells by spraying or injecting them with liquid nitrogen. This process is called cyrotherapy. Another surgical process is lymphadenectomy where the lymph nodes nearby the cancer cells are removed to prevent spreading the cancerous cells to those lymph nodes. Curettage and electrocautery is another surgical technique where the cancerous cells are scrapped off and either heat or electricity is used to prevent any bleeding.
There are superficial skin cancers like BCC that don't require surgery and can be treated by laser therapy. Laser therapy involves shining a very intense beam of light on the cancerous growth to destroy it. There is also radiotherapy in which X-rays are used to destroy the cancerous cells. Radiotherapy is also used for large cancers that are are formed too deep inside the skin or for cancers that are formed at areas where surgery might be hazardous. Photodynamic Therapy or PDT is a relatively new form of treatment that has proved to be somewhat effective in skin cancer treatment. In PDT, cancer cells are destroyed using a light-sensitive drug and a beam of visible light. Topical medications, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, though not very common for skin cancer treatment, can also be effective depending on a number of factors.
Depending on general health condition and age, anyone suffering from skin cancer is eligible to receive treatmen for the same.
Doctors try to avoid radiation therapy for treating young people with skin cancer as radiotherapy sometimes ends up increasing chances of cancer in other parts of the body in the future.
The treatment for skin cancer has a few possible side effects. Radiotherapy is a very common form of treatment for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Radiotherapy causes irritation in and around the area of the skin being treated, skin discolouration and hair-loss in that particular area. Radiation also causes some damage to the salivary glands and teeth when it used to treat cancer formed around these structures. Chemotherapy causes acne, discolouration, blistering, peeling and hepersensitivity to the sun. Chemotherapy also causes the nails to become brittle or cracked.
Patients who have undergone treatment for skin cancer are usually advised to avoid direct contact with sunlight for long periods of time. Patients are also advised to use creams providing UV protection while going out in the sunlight. Patients must follow up with their doctors to help detect the cancer in the earliest possible stage if it does come back.
The length of the recovery period really depends on the type of treatment that the patient went through. However, whether it was surgery or otherwise, it should not take a patient more than a week to a few months to recover completely.
The cost of the treatment depends on the stage of the disease and the particular course of treatment followed. However, it is not a very cheap disease to have. The treatment for skin cancer can cost anywhere between Rs.10,000-Rs.2,50,000 depending on a lot of factors.
Skin cancer is almost curable if it can be detected at a very early stage. 98% people survive for 5 years and more if their cancer gets diagnosed at an early stage. But, the survival rate goes down to 62% if the cancer spreads through the body in its later stages. And even if the cancer gets cured, there is no guarantee that it won't come back a few years down the line.
The conventional methods for treating skin cancer also bring a lot of side effects to the table. To avoid those, there are a few natural remedies for treating the disease. Black raspberry seed oil, eggplant extract, myrrh oil and frankincense oil are known to have anti-cancer properties and can be used to treat skin cancer. However, there is no proof of their effectiveness.
Skin cancer occurs when the DNA of the cells undergo mutations, thus causing unsystematic cell growth which evolve into a cancerous mass. This abnormality stems from the over-exposure of your skin to the Ultraviolet Radiations of the sun.
However, there are other factors too that escalate the risks of skin cancer.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
When it comes to cold and the flu, Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is hailed as the best remedy and preventive agent. But did you know that this could also help fight against cancer? Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is not produced by our bodies and needs to be sourced through food. It is needed for the synthesis of collagen, norepinephrine, and carnitine. Collagen is required to develop bones, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.
Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter while carnitine is a protein required for transportation of fat to the mitochondria. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that protects the body against damage caused by free radicals. In addition, it boosts the immune system and increases the body’s ability to fight infections. Ideally, an adult man should have 90mg per day while an adult woman should consume 75mg vitamin C per day.
When it comes to cancer treatment, vitamin C can act as an immune-modulator. It enhances the body’s resistance to pathogens and suppresses production of IL-18. This is a key regulator in melanomas, carcinomas and other kinds of malignant skin tumours. In the case of gastric cancers, the production of IL-18 is boosted by the vascular endothelial growth factor. In the case of breast cancer, IL-18 induces the production of transferrin. Thus, by regulating and reducing the production of IL-18, vitamin C can help reduce the risk of skin cancers, stomach cancers, and breast cancer. Dosage is key to the efficacy of Vitamin C in preventing cancer as an immune modulator.
In its reduced form, vitamin C is known as ascorbate. This has the ability to act as a prooxidant. Ascorbate in high dosages induces apoptosis in some melanomas through mitochondrial dysfunction. Similarly, a low dose of ascorbate induces cell cycle arrest of some types of cancer cells. Thus, by acting as a prooxidant, vitamin C inhibits the growth of cancer cells. This includes growth by inducing endoplasmic reticulum stress, suppressing growth factors and inhibiting angiogenic factor production. It also produces hydrogen peroxide-dependent cytotoxicity in cancerous cells without affecting other healthy cells.
The efficacy of vitamin C in dealing with various types of cancer has been found to be most effective when administered intravenously. In addition, it may also be given orally. Since vitamin C is cytotoxic and does not affect other cells, the side effects of this type of cancer therapy are usually negligible.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Today, Laser treatment is no longer as rare as it once was. Laser treatment is in fact the third most common type of cosmetic surgery performed. However, it is still surrounded by a number of misconceptions. One such doubt that many people have is whether Lasers have the ability to cause cancer. To understand this, one must first understand what laser therapy is.
Laser is a short form for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are many different kinds of lasers and laser mediums. These lasers can be used by doctors for cosmetic and surgical procedures as well as by engineers at constructions sites etc depending on the type of Laser. Though simple lasers are easily available, they should be used carefully.
With some lasers, radiation is emitted as a form of light. In others, this radiation may be in the form of ultraviolet or infrared rays and thus be invisible to the naked eye. This radiation should not be confused with the radiation from radioactive substances or microwave and radio waves. The radiation emitted by lasers is largely considered to be safe and does not harm the human body.
This radiation emitted by lasers does not use the same ultraviolet wavelengths as the UV radiation of sunlight. Radiation from laser beams is known as non-ionising radiation. It stays at the surface of the skin and does not penetrate into the cells. When laser treatment is used for hair removal it only penetrates to the hair follicle and no further. Thus, it does not cause skin cancer and does not damage our cellular DNA. Keeping this in mind, laser treatment can also be used for hair removal around the reproductive area without a worry.
Lasers used for cosmetic procedures are known to be every effective in the treatment of wrinkles and fine lines. It can also be sued to reverse the damage caused by excessive exposure to sunlight such as sun spots and dark patches on the skin. For these types of treatment, lasers may either be used to vaporize the top most skin layer or resurface the skin and remove wrinkles without peeling the skin. Both these types of lasers, promote the formation of collagen which is what actually helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Lasers are also often used to treat and remove pre-cancerous lesions. Thus, instead they can reduce a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
The skin has the largest surface area and is most exposed to the external environment. This exposure causes a lot of wear and tear, and one of the worse complications including melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer. Read on to know about its causes, caution signs to stay alerted and how to take care of the skin.
The skin has cells known as melanocytes which give it the color. Generally, the more the number of melanocytes, the darker is the person’s complexion. This pigment is also present in skin, hair, nails, and eyes. The moles are skins are areas of higher concentration of these cells. Africans moles can be a precursor to melanoma, but not all moles turn to melanoma.
Melanoma is directly linked to sun exposure, and so reducing sun exposure and taking adequate precautions can help in prevention.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Oncologist.
We live in an age where every single individual, more or less, is exposed to the risk of cancer. It is probably an unfavorable lifestyle we lead that deprives us of good health. This might alarm many but considerable changes in lifestyle can help you realize cancer as a preventable disease. Cancer does not only make you undergo severe suffering but it also affects your friends and family. The pallor of misery spreads wider than you think.