Skin Cancer Treatment

Skin cancer treatment stops the spread of carcinoma cells by removing them. Using chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy helps to prevent the spread of the cells to vital organs and glands. Three common forms of skin cancer are basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Melanoma tumors are more likely to spread past the outer layer of the epidermis. Chemotherapy used along with immunotherapy is usually the best treatment but sometimes radiation is used to slow the growth and the symptoms. Skin cancer symptoms include discomfort of suspected lesions or growths. Some lesions may bleed and hurt, appear rough, may look red or black, and may ooze or appear crusted. Changes in moles or appearance of growths on the skin should be examined as soon as possible.

Usually if a doctor suspects a growth or lesion to be a carcinoma he or she will want to biopsy the area to check for abnormal cells under a microscope. Biopsies can be done by scraping or shaving the area. A biopsy to check lymph nodes that are questionable is done with a fine needle aspiration and can also be done to check nearby lymph nodes. The method of biopsy will depend upon the location and the type of carcinoma. The skin cancer symptoms of bleeding and pain may be more pronounced after a biopsy is performed for a small period of time. Ask the doctor about concerns with pain during and after a biopsy procedure. Normally if pain is a problem during the procedure the physician will numb the area beforehand.

Preventive measures to avoid squamous and basal carcinoma include limiting one's exposure to ultraviolet rays. Some of the best ways to do this is to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun by protecting the epidermis with clothing, wearing a hat, and using sunscreen. Sunscreen is found in lip balms and creams that can be applied to the skin before going outside. The worse times of the day for exposure to ultraviolet rays are late morning and early afternoon. Sunscreen should be reapplied periodically to maximize protection on the epidermal layer. Protection for the eyes is very important as well. Sunglasses that provide protection from ultraviolet rays should be used outdoors to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes. To further reduce the occurrence of carcinoma and skin cancer treatment many doctors recommend that a person quit smoking. Exposure to toxic chemicals and toxic substances may also play a role in developing carcinoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is a slow progressing cancer that normally does not spread to vital organs or glands. Growths are normally just below the outer layer of the epidermis and can be easily removed. Squamous cell carcinoma is more likely to spread than basal cell carcinoma but for it to do so is uncommon. The most serious type of carcinoma is melanoma. When pigment cells become malignant they can spread very quickly spreading to lymph nodes, vital organs, glands, and the brain. Skin cancer symptoms should never be ignored but should be diagnosed as quickly as possible. Melanoma carcinoma usually involves a change in an existing mole that may include the size, shape, color, and how it feels. However, skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body and is not limited to moles or existing lesions. "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:24).

Research has shown that melanoma is usually caused from a combination of genetics and environment. As a person ages he or she will become more susceptible to developing carcinoma. People that usually have lighter skin that freckles are more prone to carcinoma caused by ultraviolet rays but is not limited to those with a particular genetic description. Although the risks for developing the disease are more likely in the aging that does not mean that younger folks do not get skin carcinoma. Tanning bed usage popularity plays a part in younger people developing some forms of skin cancer symptoms. Another thing that may be causing the occurrences in younger people is the depletion of the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere. The depletion of the ozone layer can cause holes in the atmosphere where a higher amount of ultraviolet rays are penetrated.

When a surgeon removes a carcinoma and finds that it has not spread to other parts of the body then no other skin cancer treatment is needed. However, a surgeon will normally suggest that the patient has periodic examinations for anymore occurrences. However, if a doctor suspects that the melanoma has spread then a lymph node biopsy may be done. The lymph node closest to the carcinoma is checked and if it is cancer free than there is a high probability that other lymph nodes are also unaffected. If an examination and biopsy reveals that the melanoma has spread to lymph nodes and other organs then surgery is not usually done.

After diagnosing melanoma that has metastasized or spread a doctor will normally recommend that the patient undergoes chemotherapy. Additionally, skin cancer treatment may involve immunotherapy as well. Immunotherapy is designed to help build up the immune system of the patient to help with the affects of chemotherapy. Immunotherapy helps to stimulate the immune system so that it will attack the melanoma. Radiation can also help to destroy the affected tissue and may be used in combination with chemotherapy. The hope is that the combination of chemo, radiation, and immunotherapy will all work to shrink tumors and stop the growth of the carcinoma.

Types Of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer warning signs can start as subtle as a slow growing mole or as obvious as physical feelings of illness and discoloration of skin. Although obvious indicators may suggest something is wrong with the body, a diagnosis may be far off in the future. The best line of defense from this disease is that of prevention. Understanding genetic risks as well as environmental factors contributing to increased risk will lower personal danger significantly. Additionally understanding the types of skin cancer also contributes to early detection and more successful treatment.

All varieties of this disease fall under three categories: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Though the first two are the most common, melanoma is the most frequently known due to its seriousness of diagnosis and sudden onset due to uneducated patients. In addition, melanoma is the fastest growing mass of cancerous cells that ultimately travels throughout the body very quickly. People with light colored skin and people who are excessive exposed to the sun run a much higher risk of developing this disease. Proper use of sunscreen and wearing clothing that blocks ultraviolet rays should be practiced if these conditions are present. The most prominent areas for cancerous cells to develop include the face, chest, back, arms, legs, and scalp. In addition to skin type, if a person has a lowered immune system function then they run a higher risk of developing any sort of cancerous disease. For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, [saying], This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after. (Jeremiah 30:17)

Some physical effects serve as warning signs and should be examined on a regular basis. Any new skin growth should be examined to determine the type of treatment required for healing. This includes identifying between a pimple, blood blister, or cancerous mole. However, indications of skin cancer warning signs are most likely to appear as shiny and translucent bumps on the surface. In addition a person may notice areas of discoloration for no other reason such as a burn or reaction to medication. Though this disease takes a long time to become visible, it does not take a long time to spread. If skin cancer warning signs are suspected then a biopsy of the area is question is conducted to make certain the diagnosis. The types of skin cancer will determine the route of treatment suggested by the doctor and may include minor surgery, radiation, cryosurgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery. While surgery can remove the immediate problem, it may not succeed in removing all the cancerous cells, therefore radiation therapy conducted roughly 25 times (depending on the situation) may offer a higher rate of success. With the use of radiation therapy comes risks in itself and should be researched thoroughly so not to cause more problems in the future. Squamous cell carcinoma is much less common than basal cell carcinoma, however it is just as dangerous and should be treated just as quickly. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, the physical indicators include a scaly appearance on the surface. Men are affected more often than women with this type due to hairstyle choices and style of dress. The more skin exposed the greater the risk a person has of developing the problem.

Prevention of any disease is just as important as treatment methods. Depending on the skin tone, family history, and where a person lives will determine how high the risk factor is for developing types of skin cancer. Though research shows the many benefits of sun exposure for overall health including mental attitude, doing so safely is the key. Avoiding sun exposure between the hours of 10AM and 2PM greatly reduce a persons risk due to the higher levels of ultraviolet exposure during these times. When exposed during other times of the day a person should cover their body as best as possible with specially made hats and shirts in order to block out the ultraviolet rays. Just because the sun is blocked or a person does not get sunburn does not ensure a lowered risk of getting carcinoma. Whether a person is at a higher risk or not, the depletion of the ozone layer makes it necessary for everyone to perform self-examination regularly for skin cancer warning signs. Likewise, after a person is treated for any types of skin cancer regular self-examination as well as regular doctor visits further decrease the chances of reoccurrence. The use of sunlamps or tanning booths also increases the chances of a person developing a problem. Evaluation of lifestyle including food consumption and overall health further determine the risk a person carries. Wearing sunscreen while using tanning beds or sunlamps offer the same protection as using the same method for natural exposure.

As with many diseases, early detection is key. Even symptoms that seem to be unrelated can lead to detection of skin cancer warning signs such as itchiness, fatigue, and numbness in a certain area of the body. A doctor should examine any adverse symptom of the body. A good doctor will not overmedicate, suggest surgery unless needed, or take lightly any information presented. With a growing number of diseases flooding laboratories and commonplace publications it is no wonder that people feel a sense of worry for continued health. Proper diet and exercise along with protection from the sun as well as controlling exposure to other toxins further increases a persons chance of continued health.

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