People with certain risk factors are more likely to develop skin cancer. These risk factors can be listed as below:
The best known cause of skin cancer development is the ultraviolet (UV) radiation found in sunlight, commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds. Both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B contribute to skin cancer. The best way to prevent skin cancer is the protection from the sun. Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends five easy options for sun protection:
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, especially a new growth or a sore that doesn’t heal. The cancer may start as a small, smooth, shiny, pale, or waxy lump. Or it can appear as a firm red lump. Sometimes, the lump bleeds or develops a crust. Skin cancer can also start as a flat, red spot that is rough, dry, or scaly. Actinic keratosis, which appears as rough, red or brown scaly patches on the skin can sometimes turn into a squamous cell cancer. Like skin cancer, it usually appears on sun-exposed areas but can be found elsewhere.
Changes in the skin are not sure signs of cancer; however, it is important to see a doctor if any symptom lasts longer than 2 weeks. There are mainly three different forms of skin cancer.
When an area of skin does not look normal, the doctor may remove all or part of the growth, which is called a biopsy. This tissue goes to histopathologic examination to check for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to tell if the problem is cancer.
The skin cancer is usually a local disease and very rarely spreads beyond the skin, except for malignant melanoma. Only in very large and long lasting cancer may need regional and distant metastasis to decide on the stage of the disease.
In treating skin cancer, the main goal is to remove or destroy the cancer completely with as small a scar as possible. Best treatment option for everybody can change according to the location and size of the cancer, the risk of scarring, and the person’s age, general health, and medical history. There are many treatment options for skin cancer.
For all cancers, a serious followup is necessary. Besides, it is known that if someone had a skin cancer before, there is a 50 % chance of having another one within the next 3 years. So the doctor who cures the cancer always asks the patient to come for a routine followup visit on a regular basis for at least 3-5 years.