Skin cancer is a disease of the skin, as is clear from the name. It is defined as the growth of the skin cells, which is considered unnatural or abnormal. The most common occurrence of skin cancer is on the parts of the body which are continuously exposed to sunlight; however, it may not necessarily occur there every single time.
There are cases of skin cancer which suffer from the disease in parts of their body which is not exposed to sunlight as frequently. On the basis of the cells which are involved in the disease, skin cancer is divided into two major categories namely, Keratinocyte carcinoma and Melanoma.
Keratinocyte carcinoma is the most commonly occurring form of skin cancer. It manifests itself usually in the head and neck or any other area that is prone to long exposures of sunlight. They are relatively unlikely to grow into a life-threatening area than other forms of cancer but still shouldn’t be left untreated.
Melanoma is the kind of cancer that develops in cells that are responsible for giving color to your skin. Moles that are formed by these cells can become cancerous and spread. The areas where this type of cancer has a tendency to spread are different for men and women. In men, they form on the chest and back while in women, they mostly form on the legs.
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
One of the telltale signs of skin cancer is suspicious and/or mysterious spots or growths on the skin. If you notice any such spots or growths on your skin, the best thing to do is immediately schedule an appointment with a specialist. There are many organizations that specialize in cancer diagnosis and treatment. There are professionals such as SunDoctors who are ready to help you with the disease.
Once you approach a doctor with the concern, they will thoroughly examine the suspicious spot or growth and possibly remove a piece of the suspicious area for testing. This procedure is something you have probably heard of once or twice in your life; it is called a biopsy.
If it is diagnosed that you are suffering from some form of skin cancer then further testing will be required to understand the extent and the spread of your condition which will, in turn, determine the course of action from that point onward. Which leads us to the next point, that is treatment.
Treatment of Skin Cancer
Treatment of skin cancer will vary depending upon factors that include the size, shape, location, and stage of the skin cancer of the patient in question. When all are determined, then a suitable plan of action for its treatment will be initiated.
This can include cutting of the abnormal growth and some of the normal skin around it (excisional surgery), freezing the tissue using liquid nitrogen and destroying it by thawing(cryotherapy), using high powered radiation to destroy the cancerous growth, stimulating your immune system to fight the cancerous growth by using creams or other biological means(biological therapy), scraping away at the cancerous cells and burning away the rest(curettage and electrodesiccation), and giving drugs either orally, through an IV line or applied topically to kill cancer cells(chemotherapy).
The last one is one of the most commonly recognized methods of fighting cancerous growths of any kind however it is not as common with skin cancer as most skin cancer treatment methods involve the direct removal of the cancerous growths on the skin.
Most forms of skin cancers can be treated and removed and are not likely to prove fatal to the patients but the key to making that possible is timely action as even some of the most easily treatable forms of skin cancer can become a grave threat if left unchecked for a long enough time.