Skin Cancer

Skin CancerOn October 8, 2009 at 2:14 am



Skin cancer is the uninhibited proliferation of abnormal skin cells that if left unimpeded, could metastasize to other organs and tissues. Majority of the skin cancers are known to affect skin that has regular exposure to the sun or other forms of UV or ultraviolet radiation. Skin cancers are most likely noted among elderly individuals past the age of 50 years.

There are three forms of skin cancer namely, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Skin cancers are at times categorised as melanoma or non-melanoma. Other forms of skin cancers are Kaposi’s sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous lymphoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is the slowly evolving kind of skin cancer that is sub-categorised into nonmelanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is form of nonmelanoma skin cancer and the most commonly found skin cancer in the U.S. with a reported 75% cases arising due to this. Basal cell carcinoma originates in the topmost layer of the skin known as the epidermis that has a slow and painless growth process. A newly surfaced skin growth that has a tendency to easily bleed or has a slow and inadequate healing might as well indicate the presence of basal cell carcinoma. This form of cancer could additionally appear in the scalp region. Previously, basal cell carcinoma used to be more prevalent amongst individuals past 40 years of age, however lately it has additionally been detected in youngsters. This form of skin cancer mostly does not proliferate, however, if not treated; it could spread to the adjacent locations and close by tissues and bones.

Skin cancerThe risk factors of basal cell skin cancer include:

  • Light complexion skin.
  • Blue/green coloured eyes.
  • Blonde/red hair.
  • Being overly exposed to x-rays or other kinds of radiation.

Squamous cell skin cancer is a kind of tumor affecting the skin that arises when the cells present on the skin start exhibiting alterations. These variations might start becoming evident in normally appearing skin or in skin that has faced injury or has inflammation. Though, squamous cell cancer has a swifter proliferation rate than basal cell cancer, however, it is still might be comparatively slowly evolving. It might metastasize to other sites inclusive of the internal organs.

The risk factors for squamous cell skin cancer comprise of:

  • Being X-rayed for a large number of times.
  • Exposure to arsenic or other chemicals.
  • Being exposed to the sun’s rays or UV-radiation.
  • Those having light skin tones, blue/green coloured eyes or blond/red hair.
  • Elderly age bracket.

Melanoma is the most perilous form of skin cancer and the foremost reason for fatalities due to skin disease. The cells affected are melanocytes that are responsible for production of the skin pigment, melanin that gives color to the skin, hair and the colored area of the eyes.

Melanoma is of four kinds namely, superficially spreading melanoma , Nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma.

Superficially spreading melanoma is the widespread form of melanoma that is normally flat, irregularly shaped and colored in different tones of black and brown. It could affect individuals in any age or body part and is commonly observed in the Caucasian community.

Nodular melanoma normally commences as a swollen, raised site that has a deep black-black or blue-red like tones, though there are few which are colourless.

Lentigo maligna melanoma is generally known to affect the older aged people. The irregular skin sites are normally large-sized, flat and tanned with blended spots of brown.

Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least prevalent type of melanoma normally affecting areas of the palm, soles of the feet or in the area beneath the nails. It is widespread among the African-American populace.

Melanoma proliferates at a swift rate. Though it has lesser frequency of occurrence as compared to other skin cancer types, presently there is a steady rise in the number of melanoma cases and the primary reasons behind fatalities due to skin disease.

In the U.S., one among 65 individuals would be detected with melanoma in some stage in their lifetime. Aging is known to up the chances of developing melanoma, though even youngsters and rather healthy persons could also be affected. Melanoma is the topmost reason behind cancer fatalities among women in the age band of 25 to 30 years.

Melanoma might surface on normally occurring skin or might start at a mole or other spots that has altered in form. Certain inborn moles might develop into melanomas. Being exposed to sun could lead to development of melanoma, especially due to sunburns during infanthood, and commonly noted in light complexioned individuals, blue/green coloured eyes and red/blond hair colour.

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