Skin cancer occurs anywhere on the body, especially in sun-exposed areas such as the scalp, face, ears, neck, chest, arms, hands and legs. High exposure to the sun’s rays can lead to the formation of cancer cells on the skin. Thus, it is important to diagnose skin cancer earlier, especially when abnormal moles are discovered. You can find various cancer centers and dermatologists for consultation and treatment of these tumors. This article provides an insight into the causes, common types of skin cancer and the treatments available.

Skin Cancer: Types

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The round cells in the lower epidermis are called basal cells. These cancers often appear on the head and neck and resemble a flesh-coloured, pearl-like bump or pinkish patch over the skin. BCC mostly results from sun exposure or can appear in individuals who have had radiation therapy or the effects of certain chemicals. It grows slowly but sometimes it can spread to other areas of the body.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Squamous cells are flat-scale-like cells which make up the majority of the epidermis. Sun exposure is the primary cause of squamous cell carcinoma, which can also develop in skin that has been burned, harmed by chemicals or exposed to X-rays. The common possible affected areas include the lips, skin surrounding the mouth, anus, vagina or scars that have healed for a long-time. It is recommended that early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent the spread of these cancer cells.

Melanoma: The scattered cells are referred to as melanocytes where the epidermis meets the dermis, producing the melanin pigment that gives skin its color. It is considered the most aggressive and serious type of skin cancer. This type of cancer develops within an existing mole, or family history of melanoma or appears as a dark spot that looks different from the rest of the skin.

Merkel cell carcinoma: This is an uncommon cancer known as neuroendocrine skin cancer which grows extremely quickly and aggressively. It begins in the hair cells and in hormone-producing cells that present directly under the skin. This type of skin cancer affects the head, and neck area.

The other rare types of skin cancer are Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and Kaposi Sarcoma.

Skin Cancer : Causes

Due to the changes, skin cells multiply and grow uncontrollably and aggregate into a mass of cancerous cells. And still, researchers don’t know why some moles develop into melanomas and some don’t. However, there are common causes of skin cancer.

  • Exposure to UV rays
  • Moles
  • Precancerous skin lesions
  • Family history
  • Radiation exposure
  • Weak immune system

Treatment for skin cancer:

Skin cancer treatment is based on the type and stages of cancer. If it is small or limited to the skin surface then biopsy alone removes all the cancer tissue. The other common skin cancer treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy: A dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze skin cancer. The treatment causes the dead cells to fall out.
  • Excisional surgery: It removes the tumour along with a portion of the surrounding healthy skin.
  • Mohs surgery: It removes the diseased tissue and preserves as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible. It is recommended for squamous and basal cell cancer patients. Also, skin cancers arise, close to sensitive or cosmetic areas such as the forehead, scalp, fingers or genital area.
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation: Scrapes the tumour with a tool that has a sharp-looped edge to remove cancer cells. Any cancer cells that remain are eliminated using an electric needle. It is recommended for treatments for patients suffering from precancerous skin tumors and basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
  • Chemotherapy: Dermatologists and oncologists will use drugs which destroy cancer cells. If the cancer is not spreading to other areas of your body, they may prefer to use anticancer drugs, pills or IVs.
  • Immunotherapy: Oncologists prescribe drugs that train the immune system to eliminate cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: This treatment uses powerful energy beams to destroy or inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
  • Photodynamic therapy: A blue or red fluorescent light activates a medication which your dermatologist applied to your skin to destroy the precancerous cells but normal cells remain untouched.

Prevalence of Skin Cancer in India:

Skin cancer in India causes relatively less than 1% of all cancers when compared to the West. However, prevention and early diagnosis of skin cancer are important. A survey highlighted that skin cancer was reported for 3.18% of 2638 cancer patients who were registered under the age group between 27 and 92.

The most prevalent type of skin cancer in India is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). Now there are cancer centers available for complete treatment and early diagnosis. If you find any skin changes or moles, you can get appointments from the top hospitals for cancer treatment. Thangam Cancer Centre assists you in getting further treatment from top specialists and makes an appointment for any consultation.