Skin Cancer The Skin The skin is what makes up pretty much your whole body. It protects your body from heat, light, Infection and injury. The top layer of your skin is called the epidermis. It contains three types of cells: flat and scaly cells called squamous cells; round cells which are called basal cells; and the cells that give your skin its color which are called melanocytes.
What is Skin Cancer Skin cancer is a disease where cancer cells are found in the top layers of the skin. It is the most common of all the cancers around. Skin cancer may be the most common cancer, but is the most curable. Skin cancer is the most commonly found in people with light colored skin who spend a lot of time in the sun.
Three types of skin cancer There are three different types of skin cancer; basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basel cell carcinoma, which develop in the basal, or bottom layer of the epidermis, is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears on the skin that has been in the sunlight too long. The second most common type is called squamous cell carcinoma which develops in the upper layers of the epidermis. This type of cancer occur on the skin that has been in the sun too long, such as the nose, forehead, lower and on the hands. Melanoma is the final type of skin cancer. This one is the most serious of all the cancers, the reason behind this is because it affects the cells that give the skin its color.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer Skin cancer appears in many different forms. They are: -A small lump on your skin that will be smooth or waxy in appearance.
-A flat red spot which can be scaly or crusty.
-A firm red lump.
-A hard, horny lump that is tender when you touch it.
Some other symptoms that happen to moles are: -Changes in size -Shape -Color -Texture -Begins to itch -Becomes tender -Or a new mole develops on your skin Melanoma Melanoma is the disease of the skin where cancer cells are found in the cells that give the skin its color. It usually happens in adults but can be found in young children and adolescents. This disease is sometimes called cutaneous melanoma or malignant melanoma. Melanoma is a more serious type of cancer than the more common types of cancer such as basal cell cancer or squamous cell cancer which are found in these cells. Like most cancers, Melanoma is better treated when it is spotted early. Men will most commonly get this disease on their neck and women get it on their arms and legs.
How Skin Cancer is Treated There are three types of treatments that doctor may use to cure skin cancer. The doctor will choose one of these types of treatment according to the type of cancer you have. Treatments used are: -Surgery -Chemotherapy -Radiation Therapy The most common type of treatment used is surgery. When you have surgery they take the whole cancer out that may leave a scar. That depends on the size of the cancer. If there is a scar a piece taken from another part of the body nay be placed over the scar. This process is called skin graft. When radiation therapy is done they use x-rays to kill the cancer cells. It is done by a machine outside of the body which is called external radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy is the treatment that uses drugs to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often given as a cream or a lotion. Sometimes it is given as a pill or given to a person by injecting a needle into a vein or a muscle. This is called systemic treatment because the drug is placed into the bloodstream.
People Who Are At Risk There are many people who can get skin cancer, but the people who are at high risk of getting it are people who have: -Light skin complextion -In the family history -Had it before -Exposure to the sun -Had sunburns in early life -Large number of moles -Freckles Skin Protection If you want to protect your skin here are some tips you can follow: - Reduce going in the sun from 10a.m. to 4p.m. when ultra violet rays are the strongest.
- Wear a wide rimmed hat that covers you nose, eyes, ears and the back of your neck. - Wear loose fitting clothes that cover a good majority of your body.
- When you are outside find some shade where you can protect yourself from the sun?s harmful rays.
- Wear sunglasses outside.
- And always put on sunscreen lotion.
Skin Examination When you are exposed to the a lot of sun, you should check yourself often to be sure you haven?t got skin cancer. At the first signs of new growths, such as moles that were not there before or any lumps that do not look normal, you should talk to your doctor and have he or she look at it.
In conclusion always protect your skin from ultra violet rays. Always examine yourself continuously and never underestimate any signs of skin cancer.
References 1) http://www.dr-70.co.uk/cancers/skin_cancer.html 2) http://www.maui.net/~southsky/intro.html 3) http://www.jas.tj/skincancer/facts.html 4) http://www.cancerlinksusa.com/skin/treatment_pt/treatment.html#13 5) http://www.graylab.ac.uk/cancernet/304733.html 6) http://www.ask.com/main/askjeeves.asp?ask=skin+cancer&ox=16&y=12 7) http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nscpep/skin.html 8) http://www.ca5aday.com/progams/skin/skin_protect.html 9) http://imsdd.meb.un-bonn.de/cancernet/201228.html#12_BASALCELLCARCINOMAOFTHESKIN 10) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia 1993-1997