What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of skin cells that have lost control of their own growth cycle. In most cases, it is caused by cumulative changes in skin cells due to exposure to UV rays, excessive or unprotected sun exposure, and sun exposure.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, accounting for one-third of all cancers diagnosed worldwide.
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. In addition, actinic keratosis is a precancerous skin growth that can turn into cancer.
Diagnosis of skin cancer
Self-examination of the skin has not been proven to detect this type of cancer, so regular visits by a specialist or dermatologist are important. However, it is important to be aware of blemishes and marks on our skin so that any changes can be detected and checked by dermatologists. The ABCDE rule can help distinguish between normal and abnormal moles.
Asymmetry: One side of the mole does not match the other side.
Irregular border: the mole is uneven, irregular, blurred or edged.
Color: Red, white and bluish colors of dark spots are the most dangerous.
Diameter: A mole greater than 6 mm in diameter and/or enlarged since the last measurement.
Changes in size, shape, or color: Observe the mole and see a doctor if it changes in size or shape.
Your dermatologist will perform a visual examination, but this is not a definitive diagnosis. If the mole shows signs of cancer, a biopsy will confirm or rule it out.
How to prevent skin cancer?
The main risk factors for skin cancer are exposure to UV rays and sun exposure. Prevention is especially important for people with low phototype, that is, fair skin, but it is important for all skin types.
Any precautions to prevent overexposure are recommended. Current recommendations for skin cancer prevention:
Wear clothing (long pants or long-sleeved shirts), a hat, and sunglasses when going out in the sun.
Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially in the middle of the day (between 12:00 and 16:00).
Local therapy with chemotherapy, immunosuppression, and photodynamic agents can also be used to treat many subclinical lesions and reduce the risk of subsequent malignancy.
Treatment of skin cancer
Skin cancer treatment varies depending on the type of lesion and the stage of the disease. Surgical removal is often used. It is very effective, generally well tolerated, and very quick to heal, especially in superficial tumors. For very small tumors with a low risk of recurrence, cryotherapy can also be used to freeze the tumor cells.
When other types of methods cannot be used, chemotherapy, immunosuppression, and local treatment with photodynamic agents can be used, which are very useful for superficial tumors. Also, electrosurgery and radiation therapy are effective in this type of cancer, especially in large tumors. In the most aggressive cases, usually melanoma, systemic chemotherapy is required. We are currently seeing major advances in immunotherapy for this type of skin cancer.