The skin is the largest organ in our body and plays a vital role in detecting hot and cold, regulating your body temperature and protecting your muscles, bones and internal organs from outside infection and disease. Your skin accounts for about 15% of your body weight.Like all body tissues our skin is made up of cells: basal cells, squamous cells and melanocytes.
The different types of skin cancer are named for the skin cell where the cancer develops. There are the primary skin cancers which are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Carcinoma is another word for cancer. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are often grouped together and called ‘common’ skin cancers. There are also secondary or metastatic skin cancers , these cancers originated in another organ/part of body and have spread to the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma
This is the most common but least dangerous form of skin cancer. It grows slowly, usually on the head, neck and upper torso. It may appear as a lump or dry, scaly area. It can be red, pale or pearly in colour. As it grows, it may ulcerate or appear like a sore that does not heal properly.
A highly dangerous form of melanoma that looks different from common melanomas – they are raised from the start and have an even colouring (often red or pink and some are brown or black). This type of melanoma grows very quickly and needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This type of skin cancer is not as dangerous as melanoma but may spread to other parts of the body if not treated. It grows over some months and appears on skin most often exposed to the sun. It can be a thickened, red, scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate.
Melanoma is the most notorious skin cancer, while it’s considered the more serious of the types of skin cancer, melanoma can be successfully treated at an early stage of the disease.Melanoma typically develops in heavily pigmented skin such as a birthmark, mole, or dark freckle and usually appears in adults age 45 and older, but it can develop in younger adults. The disease typically develops in the extremities (legs, arms), chest or back but it can also be found on the sole of the foot or palm of the hand. In appearance, melanoma manifests as a flat irregular mole colored black, brown, or a combination of the two. The best protection against melanoma is sunscreen and protective clothing. Individuals with fair skin or a family history of melanoma are at a greater risk of developing the condition.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
While effective sun protection is the best defense against skin cancer, attention to the signs and symptoms of melanoma can help towards an early diagnosis. There are specific physical features to melanoma and checking for the following characteristics is recommended:
- Asymmetry – irregular shape
- Border irregular – edges of the growth are notched or ragged
- Color – irregular coloration
- Diameter – size greater than 6mm (pencil eraser)
- Evolution – change in shape, color, or surface
If the melanoma has spread to another part of the body, symptoms will then include swollen lymph nodes, usually in the groin or armpit, or a colorless lump or thickening under the skin.
If you have experienced any recent physical changes that could indicate melanoma, you must consult a physician to discuss your skin cancer symptoms. You are welcome to contact the our office to schedule a consultation with Dr Ngidi. We would like to help you and discuss any questions that you might have regarding your health.
In its early stage, melanoma affects only the skin and responds well to local therapy. However, once it spreads, more advanced methods are required and can include a combination of several treatments including:
- Surgery – The entire melanoma and surrounding area is removed
- Chemotherapy – used to stop or slow the growth
- Immunotherapy – medicines used in conjunction with natural immune system
- Radiotherapy – used to stop growth and/or alleviate symptoms.
Metastatic melanoma is usually treated with a combination of two or more modalities such as surgery and chemotherapy, immunotherahpy, or radiation therapy. If you are diagnosed with melanoma, you must discuss all treatment options with your doctor and ask questions if you need more information when considering treatment options.
Regular follow-up appointments are important after you have been diagnosed with melanoma. More information about melamona can be found at WebMD.com.
Contact our Oncology practice for more Information
If you have been recently diagnosed with skin cancer or seek a second opinion, we dedicated to the best possible solution against skin cancer. We are dedicated to our patients’ physical and emotional well-being and committed to helping them against cancer. If you have questions or would like to know more about treatment options, please contact our center today at 011 2132250 and schedule a consultation with Dr Ngidi
Its okay to be scared. Being scared means your about to do something really, really brave. Unknown