Cancer is a global epidemic, taking thousands of lives every year. The most common type of cancer is skin cancer. In Australia, the problem is far more severe. Australia receives heavy UV radiation from the sun, given its proximity to the south pole. These harmful UV rays are the biggest causes of skin cancer.
Did you know two in three Australians are likely to be victims of skin cancer by the time they reach their late 70s? Thus, it is imperative that we make the masses aware of the topic of skin cancer. In this article, we take you through the causes, symptoms, types, and the regimens of skin cancer.
To start with, skin cancer is caused by a mutation of cells present in our skin. Reasons could be various: Genetic, UV radiations, excessive use of tobacco, carcinogenic diet, to name a few. Moreover, obese people and those who have already been diagnosed with HIV AIDS are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer could be categorized into two broad types: Melanoma and Non-melanoma. While non-melanoma skin cancer develops on the upper layers of the skin, melanoma is far more dangerous and fatal. Melanoma finds its roots in melanocytes, the skin cells that are responsible for pigmenting. Although melanoma is far less common than non-melanoma, it is far more difficult to handle.
The most common symptoms of Melanoma include sudden changes in the size or colour of a mole. Non-melanoma can be further divided into two broad categories: Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer types are mostly spotted on the head or neck region. Their symptoms include rosy or pale scar-like moles on the skin. These patches may be irregularly defined, constantly changing their size or colour, and can be itchy. Sometimes, the mole may even bleed.
If you notice any irregularities on your skin, it is always best to seek out help from professionals. For more details on professionals, you should visit their website. Now it comes down to how do you diagnose skin cancer. You leave that on your doctor after you have found anything strange going on with your skin. Your doctor would first do a visual inspection of the area. If he finds it suspicious, he may perform a biopsy.
A biopsy is a method of surgically removing the affected tissues to inspect them further. Biopsy could reveal whether or not it is skin cancer. If it is, then would it spread to other body organs? With malignant tumours, there is always a risk that they may spread to your other body parts and develop other cancer types, bone cancer being the most common one aided by skin cancer.
Once the severity of the disease has been determined, a doctor could also prescribe medicines and procedures ahead. Cancer can be tackled in various ways. For non-melanoma skin cancer, most doctors would recommend excisional therapy. This method simply means excising out the affected skin cells and is effective for non-melanoma skin cancer.
However, when it comes to treating melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer both surgically, the only way to go about it is Mohs Surgery, as using this surgical method, doctors remove the cancerous cells from each layer of the skin. In case, the body can not be subjected to surgery due to some complications, the doctors would recommend chemotherapy. In chemotherapy, a patient is subjected to anti-cancer drugs and lotions.
Another way of tackling cancer is radiation therapy. In radiation therapy, affected tissues are subjected to high power radiation. This is effective in killing off the cancer cells, but the side effects of radiation therapy are to the extent that it may also affect, if not kill off, the healthy cells in the human body too. In the beginning stages of cancer, doctors even recommend cryosurgery. The cryosurgical way is to freeze the cancer cells off till they are dead.
As technology makes progress, science is generating newer and better ways to fight cancer. However, the cure is still missing from the market. Even after the cancer tissues have been removed, the disease may relapse. Thus, prevention is indeed better than cure! Healthy lifestyle choices and less exposure to harmful UV radiation should keep you A-okay.