Today, I want to talk about a very serious topic. It’s skin cancer. And while you may live in Philadelphia and think that skin cancer should only worry people in places like South Florida, you’d be mistaken. Oh, sure, we have 4 true seasons, but that doesn’t mean our skin is immune from skin disease and damage.
Skin cancer is the most popular form of human cancer. This disease is mostly caused by increased exposure to ultraviolet light emitted by the sun. This disorder affects skin parts that are mostly exposed to the sun for long periods. Backs of the hands and arms, lips, upper trunk, face, nose, hairless scalp and lower legs are some of the parts where cancer can develop. This disease is most common with light-skinned people. The most common sign this skin disease is changes in skin appearance, such as new growth that won’t heal.
Skin Cancer Types and Their Treatments
There are three main types are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are commonly referred to as non-melanoma cancers.
Basal cell carcinoma
This is a disease that is common with most skin cancer patients. These cancers don’t spread to other body parts but can damage the surrounding tissues. Basal cell carcinoma is caused by increased sun exposure, light skin and age. Weakening of the immune system can also promote the development of this disease. This disorder mostly affects the face because it is normally exposed to sun rays all the time. However, other body parts that are not sun exposed can also be affected. This skin disorder develops from a tiny, dome-shaped bump that is covered by superficial blood vessels. These cancers grow slowly and can take several months or years to grow.
Several methods are used to cure basal cell carcinoma. These are surgical excision, curettage and desiccation, therapy using creams, Moh’s micrographic surgery cryosurgery, and radiation therapy.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell cancer begins in the squamous cells. These are thin, flat cells that look like fish scales under the microscope. Squamous cells are found in the linings of hollow organs of the body, passages or respiratory and digestive tracts, and in the tissues that form surface of the skin. Thus, squamous cell carcinoma mostly develops in these areas. Men are more affected by these cancers than women. Hairstyle and patterns of dressing can also lead to development of this skin cancer. People who have clothes that cover most parts of their skin develop this disease less often.
The treatment methods squamous cell carcinoma is just the same as the ones in basal cell carcinoma. Surgical excision, cryosurgery, radiation therapy, Moh’s micrographic surgery, curettage and desiccation, and medical therapy surgery are the methods doctors use to cure this disease.
Melanoma skin cancer
While melanoma skin cancer is the least frequently found form of cancer, it is by far the deadliest when compared to the other two types. Nevertheless, there are more than 75,000 cases diagnosed in the United States annually. The type of cancer can appear as an unusual bump, lesion, mole-like growth, or discolored patch.
While this can be a terrible disease if left untreated, the good news is that it is usually detected early and there is about a 91 percent survival rate. Similar to the above mentioned cancers, treatment is often done using moh’s micrographic surgery.
In conclusion, skin cancer should be taken as a serious matter. You should not spend all day in the sunshine, especially without sunscreen, if you’re not required to do so. In addition, it is wise to visit a Philadelphia dermatologist periodically for a skin health examination.