Skin Cancer Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and More

Cancer treatment is continuously developed. More and more effective and more focused treatment is available. As the treatment developed, the results improved.

The purpose of cancer treatment is that –

  • Cancer is improved
  • Illness is placed under control
  • The recurrence of cancer is prevented,
  • The symptoms caused by the tumor are alleviated.

The main forms of cancer treatment are cancer surgery (surgical treatment), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. Today, various immunological therapies and so-called smart drug delivery (or target drug delivery) are also used. There are various kinds of anticancer drugs that can be used. They are usually used in combination.

Because cancer treatment is individualized, treatment methods are varied. The choice of therapy depends on the location, distribution, cell type, overall condition of the patient, and other possible diseases. Advantages and disadvantages for patients with different treatments are always evaluated beforehand. The doctor determines the type of treatment, but as a patient, you can ask questions and express your own wishes about the problem. The doctor must explain to you the evidence and content of the treatment recommendation.

Cancer patient’s rights

Patients are entitled to good health, medical care, and treatment, without violating their dignity, beliefs, or privacy. Patient’s mother tongue, individual needs, and culture must be considered as much as possible. Health services must be available equitably so that people are not placed in an unequal position for reasons such as age, health condition, place of residence, etc. Children in Finland have the same health and medical rights as adults. When young people receive treatment, if possible, their opinions should be taken into account as to the age and the degree of development. In the treatment issue, doctors and other medical professionals evaluate the sophistication of underage patients.

If minors can decide on their treatment, they have the right to prohibit information on their health status and treatment given to parents or other legal representatives. If minors cannot decide on their treatment, they will receive treatment by agreeing with their parents or other legal representatives. Minor parents do not have the right to refuse the treatment necessary to avoid the threat to the child’s life and health.

Cancer Progression

Because some cancers proceed very slowly, you can monitor the situation for a while before choosing the type of treatment. Surgery is often sufficient for the treatment of small malignant tumors. In some cases, it may be possible to use only chemotherapy or medication therapy instead. Treatment of large tumors includes various combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, and drug therapy. Surgery can be supplemented with other cancer therapies to treat patients.

Every cancer patient wants to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Waiting for treatment can increase anxiety. However, it is usually impossible to start treatment as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed and further examination must be carried out. Accurately defining the type of cancer is important in choosing the right treatment. Cancer staging should also be confirmed as the treatment of enlarged or in situ cancers can vary widely.

Many cancers develop slowly over several years. The delay of several weeks at the onset of cancer treatment is not usually important in terms of the ultimate outcome of treatment. In some cases of acute leukemia or malignant brain tumor, even a fairly short delay in treatment may be important. Cancer treatment is a mental and physical burden for patients. Its side effects generally include nausea, hair loss, decreased blood cell count, fatigue and swelling of lower limbs. The adverse effects caused by cancer treatment efficacy (response to treatment) and treatment are closely monitored.

Three Types of Skin Cells That Can Become Malignant

  • Squamous epithelial cells – These flat cells are located in the outer part of the epidermis. As it makes new things the body continues to peel off the old squamous epithelial cells.
  • Basal cells – It located at the bottom of the basal cell epidermis continuously divide and become flattened as they move upward (towards the surface) upwards into new squamous epithelial cells.
  • Melanocytes – These cells produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives brown or tan to the skin. They act as natural sunscreens and help protect the skin layers under the epidermis from UV damage.

Common Skin Cancers

  • Basal cell carcinoma – This cancer accounts for about 80% of all skin cancer cases. It is almost always completely treatable and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. If left unprocessed, skin, deep tissues, bones may be destroyed, appearance may be impaired or functional problems may occur.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – This cancer, which accounts for about 20% of all skin cancers, is also highly treatable. However, it is likely to spread over basal cell carcinoma. Metastatic squamous cell carcinoma is rare, but there is a possibility of life threatening.
  • Melanoma – This type of cancer that occurs in melanoma melanocytes accounts for only about 1 percent of all skin cancers. Like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, if diagnosed early, it will cure very much. However, if it is not treated immediately, it can be proven to be more likely to metastasize than these other skin cancers, and can be fatal.

Rare Types of Skin Cancer

  • Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) – Cancer of cells lining the lymph vessels and blood vessels, KS appears as lesions in the skin, mouth, or elsewhere in the body. In the United States, the most common type of KS develops in people who have HIV virus.
  • Cutaneous (skin) lymphoma – This cancer arises from white blood cells called skin lymphocytes.
  • Skin adnexal tumors – These cancers start in hair follicles or skin glands.
  • Various types of sarcomas.

So, You Have Skin Cancer?

Melanoma survivors may be expected to be alert for recurrence, but people who have suffered from any type of skin cancer should continue to be alert. This requires careful scrutiny of scheduling follow-up visits to dermatologists (or oncologists), conducting frequent skin self-examinations, and limiting UV irradiation. If not completely removed, basal cell carcinoma may regrow on the same location on the skin. People who have had basal cell carcinoma have a higher risk of developing again in other parts of the skin. People with squamous cell carcinoma also have a high risk of recurrence, especially at or near the same skin area. The growth of the nose, ears, and lips brings the highest risk. It is also suggested that people suffering from basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma are at increased risk of developing other types of cancer, especially melanoma. For women, this risk includes breast cancer and lung cancer.

Skin Cancer & Their Risk Factors

If you want to lower your risk of skin cancer, the smartest thing you can do is to minimize your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Experts blame 90% of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and 86% of melanoma for ultraviolet rays. Both ultraviolet rays from sunlight and ultraviolet rays from indoor tanning equipment damage DNA on skin cells and cause genetic mutations that prompt these cells to proliferate vigorously to form tumors. Certain physical characteristics make it especially susceptible to the negative effects of ultraviolet radiation such as skin color. Blue, green, or gray eyes. Blonde, red, or light brown hair.

Types Of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma accounts for an estimated 80% of all skin cancer cases, with an estimated 4.3 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States. This cancer occurs in the basal cells located in the outermost layer (epidermis) of the skin. Basal cells continuously divide, migrate upward within the epidermis and become flattened, transforming into different types of skin cells called squamous epithelial cells.

Basal cell carcinomas commonly appear in the areas of the body that are customarily exposed to sunlight, especially the face, ears, neck, scalp, shoulders, and back. The back of the hand may also become a trouble zone. In rare cases, basal cell carcinoma does not occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun. Researchers do not know the reason.

Basal cell carcinoma grows very slowly. Leaving it unprocessed can result in significant growth and deepening, which can make it unsightly or cause functional problems. It is unlikely that basal cell carcinoma will become life-threatening. But it can happen: in the United States this cancer brings about 3,000 deaths each year. People who develop basal cell carcinoma have a higher risk of getting something else, especially when growth is on the nose or scalp.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 20% of all skin cancer cases, and approximately 1 million cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Cancer affects squamous epithelial cells at the top of the epidermis. The body continually peels off old squamous epithelial cells and replaces them with new ones.

Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous epithelial cells usually occur in areas exposed regularly to sunlight (face, ears, neck, lips, scalp, back of the hand) periodically. Often signs of other sunburns, such as wrinkles, spots, blood vessel damage, are visible on the skin in these areas. Squamous cell carcinoma, particularly in African Americans, is likely to proliferate to the site of existing inflammatory skin diseases or burn scars.

These carcinomas also occur in the mucosa or reproductive organs area. Most of the squamous cell carcinomas in the genital area may be related to infection by certain types of human papilloma (HPV) virus. Compared with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma may proliferate and spread to deeper skin layers. .

Although the risk of metastasis is very low, it is true: squamous cell carcinoma kills an estimated 15 thousand people each year in the United States. Squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed in the reproductive area accounts for almost half of these deaths.

Squamous Cell Pre-cancers

  • Sunlight, or sun, keratosis – These rough, scaly, slightly elevated growths typically develop in elderly people who have spent decades under the sun. According to some estimates, 40 to 60 percent of squamous cell carcinomas occur as untreated actinic keratosis.
  • Sunlight cheilitis – This is a form of solar keratosis that occurs in the lower lip, resulting in drying, cracking, scales, and pale or white skin.
  • Leukoplakia – This condition affects mucous membranes in the mouth and causes white spots on the tongue, gums, or cheeks.
  • Bowen’s disease – This symptom may manifest itself as a reddish brown scaly spot similar to psoriasis or eczema. Exposure to sunlight or exposure to arsenic may be the cause, but other causes include radiation, chemical carcinogen, genetic trauma, or exposure to specific HPV virus.

Melanoma

Melanoma is rare compared to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, accounting for only about 1% of all cases. The number of melanomas diagnosed in 2018 is estimated at 178,560. This cancer also occurs in pigment-producing cells of the epidermis called melanocytes. Melanocytes are also the cause of moles, many of which are harmless. However, the higher the number of moles, the risk factor for melanoma. Melanoma is more dangerous than other skin cancers. Due to immunotherapy, targeted therapy focused on tumor genetics, and other medical advances, the lifespan of people with advanced melanoma has been growing by several years, not just months. However, metastatic melanoma is still a disease that is difficult to beat. The estimated number of melanoma deaths in 2018 is 9,320.

Types Of Cancer Treatment

Combination therapy

Cancer therapy is often accompanied by combination therapy. Combination therapy refers to the combined use of many treatment modalities such as surgery, radiotherapy and drugs. The purpose of combination therapy is to broaden the range of patient recovery.

Adjuvant therapy

Adjuvant therapy is used to complement surgery. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy performed after surgery is a form of adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant therapy reliably destroys cancer cells, thereby improving the patient’s prognosis.

Supportive therapy

Supportive cancer therapy relieves symptoms caused by cancer or its treatment. It can improve the patient’s health during the treatment period and after the treatment period. For example, anti-nausea drugs used during chemotherapy are a form of supportive care. Treatment for cancer pain is another form of supportive care.

Palliative care

Palliative care reduces the patient’s physical and psychological symptoms to improve the quality of life. It is used to treat symptoms resulting from treatment of cancer and treatment of cancer. Palliative care may be provided over several months to several years. The most common symptoms treated with palliative care are pain, constipation, nausea, confusion and fatigue. Palliative care will be provided in parallel with the therapeutic treatment right after diagnosis of cancer.

If cancer can not be cured, treatment focuses on the patient’s symptoms and as a result, their quality of life will be as good as possible. For patients with metastatic cancer, palliative care is very important. Procedures used in symptomatic treatment may be the same as those used in curative treatment in part. For example, radiation therapy can reduce metastasis, which helps the patient to feel better. Treatment is also aimed at alleviating the psychological symptoms of patients in addition to the physical symptoms such as fears and anxiety headed towards the terminal end.

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