Introduction “Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells are found in the outer layers of the skin. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U. S. , affecting more than 1 million people each year. ” (Health scout 2001-2006 1). Many people don’t take the risk of skin cancer seriously and continue to lie out in sun regardless of the consequences. The consequences of lying out in the sun can be the development of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and/or melanoma. Basal Cell Carcinoma “Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a type of skin cancer.
It is a malignant epithelial cell tumor that begins as a papule (a small, circumscribed, solid elevation of the skin) and enlarges peripherally, developing into a crater that erodes, crusts, and bleeds. Metastasis is rare, but local invasion destroys underlying and adjacent tissue. In 90 percent of all cases, the lesion is seen between the hairline and the upper lip. ” (Health scout 2001-2006 1). BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. It is also the least lethal form of skin cancer of the skin cancers. In the United States this accounts for 97 percent in the south and 47 percent in the north (Health scout 2001-2006).
The cancers usually don’t spread to other parts of the body, but can cause damage by growing and invading nearby tissue (Rockoff 1996-2006). Basal cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that may not be taken seriously; this maybe do to the fact that not that many people are aware of it. The awareness begins with knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatments. Basal Cell Carcinoma may have many causes. Prolonged sun exposure and/or sunburns may be one cause of basal cell. The repeated exposure to the sun causes skin damage which may lead to basal cell (Skinsite 2005-2006).
The more fair-skinned a person is the more prone they are to getting basal cell than a person of a darker ancestry (Skinsite 2005-2006). According to the Skin Cancer Foundation (2006), chronic overexposure to the sun is the main cause of most basal cell carcinoma. While the face remains the most common place to get basal cell it can also occur on areas that are not exposed to the sun, such as the chest, arms, back, legs, and scalp (Skin Cancer Foundation 2006). Another cause of basal cell carcinoma could be wounds. According to the Skin Cancer Guide (2005) chronic non-healing wounds can increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
The wounds can include chronic ulcers, thermal burns, or other non-healing wounds. Lastly, basal cell carcinoma can be caused by exposure to chemicals. According to the Skin Cancer Guide (2005) the chemical arsenic can increase the risk. They state that the exposure is usually chronic and at low concentrations. According to Robert Bader (2006), arsenic exposure is through ingestion. It is usually a contaminated water source. These are three of the many causes of basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma can be detected through different kinds of symptoms. An open sore can be a symptom of basal cell carcinoma.
An open sore that bleeds, oozes or crusts, and remains open for three or more weeks can be a sign that a person has basal cell carcinoma (Health scout 2001-2006). Also according to health scout (2001-2006), a persistent, non-healing sore is common of an early manifestation. Another symptom of basal cell carcinoma can be a bump. The bump could be shiny and would be small and fleshly with a smooth, pearly appearance. The bump can often have an indentation in the middle of it. Another bump can bleed, crust over, and repeat the cycle is one to be aware of as well. Another symptom of basal cell could be formation of tiny blood vessels.
The blood vessels appear in thin red lines. They can also have a spider like appearance also known as telangiectasias. These are three of the many symptoms of basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma can be treated through different forms of treatment. One way to treat basal cell carcinoma is cryosurgery. According to Rockoff (1996-2006), cryosurgery is the freezing of the infected area. The technique is done by trained doctors. The doctor applies liquid nitrogen to the growth so that they can freeze and kill the abnormal cells. Another form of treatment could be curettage and desiccation.
This is the treatment that is preferred by most dermatologists. In this method the doctor scoops out the basal cell carcinoma with a spoon like instrument (curette). The desiccation is addition application to control bleeding and kill remaining cancer cells. The skin can heal without stitching. This is the best way of treatment for small cancers. Lastly, another form of treatment can be micrographic surgery. In this treatment the surgeon removes a small piece of the tumor to examine under the microscope.
The sequence of cutting and examining under the microscope is repeated so that the basal cell carcinoma can be mapped and taken out completely without having to guess at how big the lesion is. In this method as little as possible of the healthy tissue is removed. The cure rate with this method is very high. To conclude basal cell carcinoma is a serious form of skin cancer although it is the least lethal. Many people when they are in their adolescence chose to lie out in the sun regardless of the consequences.
The importance of being conscious of the sun is not taken seriously by many people of all ages. Adolescents have the attitude that ‘it can’t happen to me’. Society should try to stop the idea that a person should tan.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma “Squamous cell skin cancer is a type of tumor that affects the middle layer of the skin” (Grund 2004). According to The Skin Site (2005), squamous cell is usually the result of long term sun damage. The cancer starts to enlarge at a slow rate and then will begin to take over other uninfected tissue. The cancer can spread all over the body if it is not caught early. When the cancer is not removed completely it can spread under the skin to the organs and cause death. (Skin Site 2005) Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that may not be taken seriously; this maybe do to the fact that not that many people are aware of it.
The awareness begins with knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatments. Squamous cell carcinoma can have many causes. The first cause of this type of cancer may be exposure to ultraviolet light. The biggest form of this comes form the sun. Squamous cell carcinoma is most seen in fair skinned people who are unable to tan. Another cause of squamous cell carcinoma is genetics or genetic syndromes. There are many genetic problems that can increase the risk of a person developing squamous cell carcinoma. A person with xeroderma pigmentosa, a defect in DNA repair, has sun sensitivity.
They have an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers, and they tend to freckle easy. People who have ocular, a genetic disease with very little pigment, are at a greater risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma. (Skin Cancer Guide 2006) Lastly, another cause for squamous cell carcinoma is HPV. According to Stephen Hess (2006) types five and eight of HPV have been recently associated with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in transplant patients. These are three of the many causes of squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma can be detected through different kinds of symptoms.
One symptom of squamous cell carcinoma is skin lesions, bumps, growths. The surface of this may be scaly or crusted. These are usually located around the face, neck, ears, hands, and arms. They are small and become firm and reddened. (Grund 2004) Another sign of squamous cell carcinoma is a tumor. The tumors can be thick, horny, rough, and shallow. They can occasionally ulcerate, and have a raised border and a crusted surface. The base is usually pebbly and granular. Squamous cell carcinoma can be treated through different forms of treatment. The best way to treat squamous cell carcinoma is by excision.
In this form of treatment the lesion and/or tumor is completely cut out of the skin, and the skin is stitched back together (DermNet NZ 1997). The reoccurrence of the tumor coming back is a possibility. Another way of treating squamous cell carcinoma is by radiation treatments. This form of treatment is also known as radiotherapy. Radiation is done in the form of x-ray treatment. According to DermNet NZ (1997), radiotherapy can be used on small skin cancers located on the face. Lastly, Cryosurgery can be used to treat squamous cell carcinoma too.
A dermatologist will use liquid nitrogen with a special technique to treat the cancer. This form of treatment is appropriate for small or flat lesions. To conclude squamous cell carcinoma is a serious form of skin cancer although it is not seen that way, all forms of skin cancer should be taken seriously. Many people of all ages chose to not put on sun block regardless of the consequences. The importance of being conscious of ultraviolet light is not taken seriously. Melanoma “Melanoma is a type of cancer originating from the cells that give color to the skin. These cells are called melanocytes. Some melanomas arise in normal skin and others arise in pigmented skin (moles).
Melanoma is a relatively common type of cancer. If melanoma is not detected early, it can be fatal. Most patients can be cured with minor surgery if melanoma is found early. The four major types of melanoma are lentigo melanoma, superficial spreading melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and nodular melanoma” (Health scout). Melanoma is a skin cancer that is taken seriously by some, but may not be by all; this maybe do to the fact that not that many people are aware of how serious melanoma is. The awareness begins with knowing the causes and risk factors, symptoms, and treatments.
Melanoma can be detected through many causes and risk factors. A person can be better of by learning how moles are related to melanoma. When examining moles there are ordinary moles and atypical moles. The medical term for atypical mole is dysplastic nevi. According to MEF (2006), “Melanoma is much more likely to develop from a flat or slightly raised pre-existing mole than from a fully raised pre-existing mole. ” Another cause or risk factors of melanoma is getting sunburned. Sunburns have been directly linked to melanoma. People with fair skin who get red, peel, and then tan are at a high risk of receiving melanoma.
People who get melanoma have had bad sunburns at least one time in their life. A sunburn as child is more harmful to a person than a sunburn in adulthood (Cancer help 2006). A person’s ethnic background is another cause or risk factor of melanoma. People who are fair skinned are more likely to develop melanoma than those who are not. A Caucasian person is more likely than an African-American to develop melanoma. People who have the fairest skin have the highest risk of getting melanoma. These are only some of the few causes or risk factors of getting melanoma. Melanoma can be detected through different kinds of symptoms.
The first symptom is asymmetry. This is when a person draws an imaginary line through their mole and it is not equal on both sides. Most moles on a person are symmetrical. The two halves of the mole that the person drew a line through are not the mirror image of each other. Another symptom that a person may have melanoma is the border of a mole. In most cases the border of a mole is exact and distinct. Moles that have been affected by melanoma are fuzzy around the edges. The border may also be notched, scalloped, or indistinct. Lastly, another symptom of melanoma is the color of a mole.
In early melanoma color changes begin to show with different shades of black, brown, tan, and even other colors. The ordinary mole can be dark or light and tend to be the same color. Atypical moles tend to look different hues. Melanoma can be treated through different forms of treatment. The first form of treatment would be through surgery. This is the most common type of treatment for patients who have melanoma. The surgery usually is when the cancer is in Stage I, which is when the tumor is thin and has not yet spread. This is the stage that is usually curable with surgery. Another form of treatment is Chemotherapy.
Due to the fact that undetected cancer cells can remain in the body after surgery doctors like to use chemotherapy. They want to be able to kill the cells that were undetected with the chemotherapy. Lastly, another form of treatment for melanoma patients is biological therapy. This is also known as biotherapy. This form of treatment is based on biology, genetics, and immunology. This can work directly against the cancer, or it can help the person body change the way it reacts to the cancer. These are only a few of the different treatments used for melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer.
The fact that people don’t realize that melanoma is possible only after one sunburn is scary. Melanoma is not strictly limited to one age group, and can affect people of all ages and races, even though the risk isn’t always high. A person should never think that it can’t happen to them because the sad part is that it can. Conclusion To conclude skin cancer is a very serious problem that people don’t realize. It is important for a person to test any moles that may have on their body regularly. When going out into the sun a person should remember to always put on sunscreen. Skin cancer is serious and should be taken that way.