Protect Your Health

Protect Your Health

Skin Cancers: Not All Created Equal

by Claire Ward

One of the most harrowing experiences that a person can go through is contracting and treating a variation of cancer. Skin cancer, in particular, can be a demanding disease that one may experience. Did you know, however, that there are a wide array of skin cancers that can affect you?  Although all of them are very serious and can make for a very trying set of months in your life, some are in fact, more mild than others and demand a less taxing set of skin cancer treatments. This brief article will focus on several forms of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and miscellaneous other forms of skin cancers.

Basal Cell Cancer

This skin cancer is actually one of the most widespread forms of cancer that Americans experience. 3 out of every 10 Americans will actually contract this skin cancer. Relatively speaking, it is a very weak form of cancer. It is rare that basal cell carcinoma is lethal or even metastasizes – or spreads to others organs. It affects the skin by forming pearl-like pustules and occasionally lesions; more often than not, its appearance resembles eczema. Basal cell carcinoma is easily treated with immunotherapy and even a weak, localized chemotherapy can work well on this cancer. It usually appears on the face or neck of those who contract the cancer.

Squamous Cell Cancer

This is a major form of skin cancer and is quite deadly if not caught and treated. This classification of cancer is most commonly formed on the skin's epidermal layer, but it can metastasize and move onto other areas, including the lips, prostate, vagina, and even your lungs. Although technically the same cancer, when squamous cell carcinoma spreads to other parts of the body, it can affect them in wildly disparate ways. This cancer generally manifests itself as a large tumor upon the skin, and may be opened by lesions. This dangerous type of cancer usually occurs due to prolonged exposure to the sun's UV rays without proper protection, like sunblock, sunglasses and hats, and can usually be treated by removing the tumor before it metastasizes.

Malignant Melanoma

Melanoma is actually a very common skin "problem" – in fact, in most cases, it is usually benign. Melanoma is a disorder that actually stems from the cells responsible for the pigment of the skin and generally affects lighter skinned individuals. Moles are actually a form of melanoma; if you are out in the sun too long and begin to see freckles or darker patches of skin, this is melanoma. Melanoma can, however, become a malignant form of cancer and should be treated as soon as possible. Malignant melanoma can metastasize and is self-generating, which means it will replicate itself on the skin. Treatment usually involves removing any moles containing malignant melanoma, as well as the surrounding epidermal area.

More Rare Skin Cancers

There are litanies of skin cancers that do not occur as often as the ones listed above. Cutaneous t-cell lymphoma is a cancer that forms when the amount of white blood cells becomes quite high and this begins to affect the cutaneous skin in a malignant fashion.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer that manifests itself as violet colored lumps on the skin. It can be treated with chemotherapy.

Karposi sarcoma is commonly associated with AIDS, as it affects people with weak immune systems. It manifests itself as painful, swollen lumps on the body and can be treated with chemotherapy.

Skin cancer can be a harrowing experience. However, armed with the knowledge that you now have, you should be prepared to address the issue.


About Me

Protect Your Health

A few years ago, my father visited a dermatologist for the first time in his life. During this visit, he was diagnosed with several skin cancers. Thankfully, my dad’s dermatologist expertly removed these cancerous spots. If you’ve haven’t visited a dermatologist before, consider doing so sooner rather than later. Many forms of skin cancer are completely treatable if they’re detected early. Besides seeing a dermatologist, you should inspect your skin for any changes regularly. This is especially important if you have numerous moles on your body. On this blog, I hope you will discover ingenious tips to help you protect your health. Enjoy!