According to the reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007, there were almost 60000 new cases of skin cancer registered in the United States of America. These cases however do not reflect total the numbers for cancers patients affected every year. The growth rate is as high as 7% and this surely is a deadly disease. In the year 2007, almost 8500 people died of skin cancer. 70% of them were males.
One of the most common types of cancer, it is caused due to uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells within the skin. It can be further divided into epidermis and endodermis cancers. Commonly affected sells include melanomas, basal cell and squamous cell groups that lose the control over their regeneration over a prolonged period of time.
Since, skin is one of the largest organs in the human body, the pain and irritation is enormous. It also poses risk to underlying organs as cancer can be transmitted to other parts of the body.
Causes of Skin Cancer
The exact cause of skin cancer is hard to determine. It is just uncontrolled growth in skin cells in the epidermal layer. The skin turns red due to formation of lumps and blood clots.
The growth is generally triggered by any of the reasons stated under:
Exposure to radiation: Skin is easily and mostly exposed to radiation. The radio waves pass through layers of skin. This disturbs their cell structures which lead to uncontrolled growth. Since it happens underneath the epidermis layers, one may not even know about the origin of a cancer.
Genetic mutation: Sometimes genes are mutated since birth. The mutation may not show its impact for a long time till it stays dormant. Once it gets activated, it leads to abnormal growth of skin cells, especially the melanomas, which later turn cancerous.
Use of certain medication: Certain cosmetic medicines and creams damage the skin cells. If used for a prolonged time period, they may force the body to regenerate the epidermis at a faster rate. This uncontrolled growth forms cancerous tumors.
People also claim that certain types of rays in the sun can also trigger origin of a cancer but researchers have failed to establish any kind of concrete relationship between them. Other causes can include contact with toxic substances and ageing.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer:
Unlike other type of cancers, skin cancers can be easily identified. Doctors advise the patients to look for any kind of irregularities in their skin. In case, any irregularities do not heal in a 2 weeks, it is advised that one should consult a doctor. Skin cancers can be recognised by their uneven symmetry in a small diameter. Cancerous cells form uneven and irregular borders that discolour over a period of time. They can turn darker with the growth of cells. Marking the affected areas also helps in determining the pace at which skin cancer is spreading to unaffected cells.
Treatment of Skin Cancer:
Treatment of a cancer can only be determined once the type of cancer is known. Each melanomas, basal cells and squamous cell need to be treated in a unique way.
Basal cells can be treated by scrapping off the affected cells using a medical instrument called curette. Other methods include killing of cancerous cells by the use of liquid nitrogen, chemotherapy and medicines. Other types of non epidermal cell cancers may be treated by use of medicines and creams. Surgically removing tumors can also provide relief to patients.
While the ways of treatment may be different all of them, revolve around stopping the growth of cancerous cells.