Types of Skin Cancer Explained

Malignant growths developing on the skin are termed as skin cancers. Generally, the lumps are found in epidermis, the top layer of the skin. These malignant cancers that generally develop in men of above 50 years of age develop at any part of the body including the scalp, underneath the nails and even on lips. However, unlike other deadliest cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer or the bone cancer majority of the skin cancers are not dreadful and can be treated easily with appropriate treatment.

Skin-Cancer

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Types of Skin Cancer

Depending on the type of the skin cells being affected skin cancers are classified in to three categories Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma. Here is a detailed description of the cause, symptoms and treatment of each type of the skin carcinomas.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Tumors that grow from the basal cells present in epidermis are considered as basal cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

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Distinctive Features

  • Development of small grayish colored nodules in highly exposed areas of the skin. The nodule may develop at any place in the face including the lips, neck region, and upper area of the chest, scalp region or in the back of hands.
  • Multiple nodules merge together to form one large nodule. Fully bulged nodules may show off the blood vessels.
  • Nodules grow slowly and very rarely spread to other parts of the body.
  • In few cases nodules tend to ooze fluid.

Who are at Risk?

  • One of the adverse effects of sun bathing is development of basal cell carcinoma. Children who are highly exposed to sun are likely to develop these nodules later in life.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

  • General cancer treatment procedures radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are used in treating the basal cell carcinoma.
  • If the size of the tumor is very small techniques such as freezing and electrocautering are used to eliminate it.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Increased growth of squamous cells present in the upper layer, the stratum corneum of the epidermis is termed as squamous cells carcinoma.

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Distinctive Features

  1. Presence of dome shaped reddish scaly and fleshy nodules.
  2. Nodules start very small of just 5mm but continue to grow up to few centimeters if left untreated.
  3. Abnormal squamous cells growth is observed in areas that are highly exposed to sun.
  4. Develops slowly but there is risk of spreading to other areas of the body.

Who is at Risk?

  • Increased exposure to sun increases the risk of this skin cancer.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment

  • To prevent the growth and spreading of the tumor to other parts of the body it is generally removed through simple surgeries.
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, freezing and electrocautering are also used depending on the condition.

Melanoma

This is the third type of skin cancer characterized by involvement of melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the skin present in the upper layer of the skin, the epidermis. It is further categorized in to different types, the superficially spreading melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma, nodular melanoma and lentigo maligna melanoma.
Distinctive features

Melanoma

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  • Black or brown colored moles that are either raised or flat and often mixed with tinges of red, white or blue parts develop at any region of the skin in the body.
  • Size of the growth ranges from 6mm to few centimeters.
  • Growth is observed mainly in regions of the skin that is not exposed to sun such as the trunk region.
  • Melanomas are asymmetrical in shape without regular border and color.
  • Lesions change in color with time.
  • Shows slow growth but spreads rapidly to other parts of the body through lymph vessels and is hence included in the list of deadliest cancers.

Melanoma Treatment

  • Surgical method of removing the melanoma is the commonly used treatment.

Lastly, if you have developed skin diseases resulting in either discoloration of the skin or extraneous growth take care of it immediately as it is an alarming sign for skin cancer.