Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells on areas of the skin. They are major of three types - melanoma, nonmelanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. The risks of this disease can be reduced by minimizing exposure to UV rays.
Skin cancer generally develops from the epidermis layer cells of the skin.
The different stages of cancer tell us about the severity of the disease and help a doctor decide the kind of treatment the stage requires. There are several systems used to stage cancer, the most common being used is the TNM system (Tumor, Node, Metastases). The stages are
Stage 0 or Carcinoma in situ is the stage where the cancer cells have just started developing but have not spread further to the dermis.
Stage 1 basal cell carcinoma is the stage where the cancer cells are smaller than 2cm across.
Stage 2 basal cell carcinoma means the cancer cells have become larger than 2cm across
Stage 3 basal cell carcinoma is the stage where the skin cancer grows larger than 4cm across. At this stage, the cancer cells either spread to the bones, around a nerve (perineural invasion) or have started growing under the skin (subcutaneous tissue).
Stage 4 basal cell carcinoma means when the cancer cells have grown and spread (metastasized) to one or more lymph nodes and bones or organs of the body.
Our body has cells called Melanocytes that produce the dark pigment that gives skin its color called melanin. Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in Melanocytes. This is considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer which grows quickly and is likely to spread to an organ. Early detection and early treatment of this disease can help cure it.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Causes:
The major cause of Melanoma is the increased levels of exposure to UV radiation from sunlight. It can be caused in any area of the body like the legs, upper back, eyes, or internal organs.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Symptoms:
They occur as open sores, raised bumps, moles, or scaly patches. The American Academy of Dermatology has created an ABCDE memory device to learn the signs and symptoms that could be due to Melanoma.
If you observe any such symptoms, it is advised to visit a doctor.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is another common type of skin cancer that grows slowly in the flat cells of the epidermis called squamous cells or keratinocytes. This cancer starts developing when these cells continue to grow out of control and start spreading to the tissues, bones, mouth, lungs, digestive tract, or lymph nodes causing other complications.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Causes:
This occurs due to the damage caused to the squamous cells by exposure to UV radiation. Other causes of SCC are genetics, smoking, chemical exposure, radiation exposure, severe burns or scars, and immunosuppression.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Symptoms:
Basal cell carcinoma develops in the basal cells of the skin. The basal cells found in the lower part of the epidermis are responsible for producing new skin cells and replacing the old dead squamous cells.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Causes:
Like other types of skin cancer, one of the major causes of basal cell carcinoma is over-exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The UV rays damage the DNA in basal cells. Other than that, exposure to arsenic, and chronic inflammatory conditions are other causes of basal cell carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Symptoms:
There are changes noticed in the skin which are as follows:
The treatment of Squamous cell carcinoma is based on certain factors like age, health, location of cancer, and severity of cancer. The methods of treatment for SCC are:
Other non-FDA-approved methods of treating cancer involve topical medications and laser surgery.
The diagnosis of skin cancer starts by first examining the skin and then performing a biopsy. If cancerous cells are found, skin cancer is diagnosed. The next step is to determine the stage of cancer with the help of other additional tests like imaging tests. This helps the doctors examine the spread of the cancer cells according to which the most effective treatment is suggested to the patient.
If you are facing any similar signs or symptoms please contact the Nanavati Max team to schedule an appointment at : +91 22 6836 0000