Cancer research in UK found that there is a gene in skin cancers that grows rapidly and heals itself. Scientists say that the skin cancer is mostly caused by a fault in the gene called as TGFBR1.
The disease of skin cancer is becoming common now these days and it is increasing at the fastest rate as compare to the other cancers. 1 million people in UK are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is caused due to the abnormal growth of the cells in the skin. The cells undergo a number of transformations to grow and multiply.
Skin cancer is a common name for the collection of cancers.
Types of Skin Cancers
Types of skin cancer include
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is a type of a skin cancer that affects the cells just beneath the skin and it does not spread easily as compare to the other skin cancers.
It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and it spreads very fast to the other parts of the body. It is mostly occurred on the parts of the body which are exposed to the air.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma can be spread to the other parts of the body if it is not treated.
The people who are exposed to the sun for a long time or have skin burns or who have the disease of skin cancer in their family, they are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Causes of Skin Cancer
Following are the causes of skin cancer
In the most of the cases the skin cancer is caused by the ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet rays are emitted from sun. There are three forms of ultra violet rays UVA, UVB and the UVC. UVB is mostly considered responsible for creating cancer. Now it is proved that UVA moves deeper in to the skin as compare to the UVB. UVA causes the most dangerous type of cancer Melanoma. Tanning beds also emits UVA rays which are very dangerous for the skin.
Exposure to the X rays
People who are exposed to the higher intensity x- rays have the risk of developing skin cancer.
Immune System Destroying Therapies
Therapies like chemotherapy and the radiation therapy destroys the immune system of the skin and it causes the skin cancer. Organ transplantation or the bone marrow transplantation also causes skin cancer.
Use of Toxic Chemicals
People like farmers, miners; scientists who have direct contact with the chemicals can have a risk of developing the skin cancer.
People who are HIV positive can also be a victim of skin cancer.
Age factor can also be a cause of skin cancer. White men after reaching 50 have the risk of developing skin cancer.
People who have fair complexion have the risk of developing skin cancer.
People who live at the places of high altitudes are exposed to the high intensity UV rays can get skin cancer.
Maximum sun exposure without using sun block can also increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
The symptoms of skin cancer are
- Cancerous skin is raised.
- The blood vessels get visible on the skin.
- Skin may bleed.
- Sores appear on the skin.
- Dark brown irregular shaped spot with darker outline.
- Red patches appear on the skin.
- Brown and black pigments may appear on the skin.
- Big moles may appear on the skin.
- Moles that change their color, size and appearance.
- Pain in some moles.
- Itching on the moles.
- Bleeding of moles.
- Any injury that does not heal.
- A wound that appears under the finger nails, toenails, soles, tips of fingers.
Diagnosis of Skin Cancer
First of all the doctor will examine the suspicious area carefully. He will examine the color; size and shape of a suspicious area then the doctor will take the case history and will examine the lymph glands to check for the cancer.
Many people observe skin cancer themselves by examining the symptoms themselves through self examination.
Biopsy is also done to diagnose the type and stage of skin cancer. In biopsy doctor takes the cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. This examination is done by a dermatologist.
Cancers have different stages. A doctor must know the stage of cancer to treat it in a best way.
Localized skin Cancer
This type of cancer is not moved beyond the visible tumor. Most of skin cancers are diagnosed at this stage. This cancer is diagnosed by a biopsy.
This is a type of cancer that is spread beyond the original site. In metastatic cancer the doctor examines the lymph nodes in the suspicious area. The doctor can diagnose such a type of cancer with the help of x-rays, CT scan, and MRI etc.
First the cancer is a localized cancer and then it gradually spreads to the other parts of the body
Treatment of Skin Cancer
The treatment of skin cancer depends on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, overall health and age of patient.
People with small Basal cell Carcinomas just need a simple treatment because basal cell carcinoma does not spread to the other parts of the body and it is not dangerous.
Squamous cell carcinoma ahs the tendency to spread to the other parts of the body and it requires a careful treatment.
Malignant Melanoma requires a complete treatment because it spreads to the other parts of the body.
Treatment of skin cancer is done by a dermatologist mostly in their office. And the treatment of skin cancer is not very complicated.
Sometimes the whole cancerous skin is removed during biopsy and then further treatment is not needed. Some skin cancers require further treatment.
Three types of treatments are used for skin cancers which may include
- Radiation therapy
Surgery is the most common treatment of skin cancer. Doctor uses different surgical methods to remove the cancerous skin from the body.
It is the treatment of skin cancer that is done with the help of anti-cancer drugs. These drugs can be in form of lotion or cream for applying on the skin.
Special types of rays are used to kill the cancer cells or to stop the cells from growing. X-rays are used to treat the cancerous cells in radiation therapy.
Prevention of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be prevented by avoiding exposure to the sun because sun contains ultraviolet rays that are harmful for the skin. These ultraviolet rays damage the DNA of skin cells. The UV rays also damages the structure of the skin cells.
Preventive measures should be taken before the age of 18 to protect the skin from the sun.
Scientists say that thinning of ozone layer is causing the skin cancer and the ozone is getting thin due to the smoke and pollution from factories and environment.
People are becoming more aware of the detection and prevention of the skin cancer at the same time the treatments of skin cancers are also becoming advance.