In recent years, the incidence of skin cancer has increased worldwide, affecting millions of people worldwide. The common cause is prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. The risk is higher if someone lives or vacations in areas with high sun exposure. Recent depletion of the ozone layer is thought to play a role in the increased incidence, as the ozone layer acts as a shield against harmful ultraviolet light. In addition, tanning booths that use ultraviolet light can also cause this cancer. Fair-skinned people are particularly susceptible because they have low levels of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color and helps protect it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
The four basic types are;
. Melanoma is a very serious and life-threatening pigmented skin tumor.
. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin tumor, is locally invasive and destructive (destroying nearby tissue), but does not usually spread or result in death.
. Squamous cell carcinoma, which is three times rarer than basal cell carcinoma but behaves similarly.
. Bowen’s disease is a cousin of squamous cell carcinoma, but more superficial, involving only the outermost layer of skin.
The typical basal cell carcinoma is a round-oval, pearl-like lump with some red color due to the thin red blood vessels running through or through it. Sometimes a few small bumps form a circle. They bleed easily and sometimes ulcerate. Squamous cell carcinoma is less prominent, has irregular, poorly visualized borders, and may be a scaly, crusty, red elevation with a rough surface. Bowen’s disease is usually a red or pink plaque-like elevation with very clear boundaries. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma tend to occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin.
Causes: The cause of cancer is unknown. However, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are thought to be associated with the accumulation of sunlight throughout life. These tumors are more common in light-skinned people than in dark-skinned people. Malignant melanoma is believed to be associated with multiple severe sunburns during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. It is more common in lightly pigmented people, especially those with blue or green eyes, freckles, and almost white skin. There seems to be a tendency to develop melanoma in families.
. Skin lesions with persistent ulceration or bleeding
. Permanent skin lesion (skin changes) that changes size, shape, or color.
Diagnosis: Suspected skin lesions should be biopsied. When evaluating pigmented skin lesions, the doctor usually looks for good and bad signs. Bad signs include:
. Uneven pigmentation or discoloration of the lesion
. irregular borders
. marked height
. Large size (larger than pencil eraser)
Medical Treatment: It required surgical treatment.
Surgical Treatment: All the types described above can be treated by excision and removal of the tumor. Surgical removal provides a better than 90 percent cure rate for non-pigmented tumors (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and Bowen’s disease). Alternative methods to destroy the cancer include liquid-nitrogen freezing (cryosurgery) or scraping with a curette and burning the tissue with electrical cautery (electro-drying and curettage).
The treatment of melanoma depends on the thickness of the tumor and the depth of invasion when examined under a microscope. Excision examination and chemotherapy of lymph nodes draining the skin area when the tumor is thin and superficial.
Prevention: Prolonged sun exposure increases the risk of this cancer, so limiting sun exposure is the best precaution, especially for those with fair skin. Most occur on the head, neck, and hands, so clothing (wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves) and the use of sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 provide adequate protection.