It’s not just the UV radiation and the ozone which are to be blamed for skin cancer. It’s also lifestyle changes, consuming generous quantities of water and greens that is necessary for good skin health.
Skin cancer incidences are rising at a phenomenal rate owing to the depletion in the ozone layer during to global warming. A disease that pre-empts a serious concern, it is important that we know to it and nip the problem at the bud.
The UV radiation from the sun is the predominant etiological factor followed by genetical factors and metastasis if cancer cells from a pre existing malignant condition elsewhere in the body. There are three main types of skin cancers- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous cell Carcinoma (SCC) and Malignant melanoma with melanoma being the most aggressive followed by SCC and BCC respectively each showing a different type of manifestation.
Malignant Melanoma:- It arises from the melanocytes (pigment cells of the skin). It can occur at any age but is rare before puberty. It has the ability to spread through blood and lymph and more common in those with a lighter skin color. Common site of occurrence are the trunk (in men), legs (in women), face, soles, palms and nail beds. Most of the time, these are de novo in origin rather than from a pre existing tumor.
- Flat, slightly elevated structure
- Variation in pigmentation of moles with irregular borders
- Bleeding and increase in size
Squamous Cell Carcinoma:- It may arise on any part of the skin but most commonly occurs in sun exposed parts in the older age groups. People with frequent ulcerations, osteomyelitis, old burn scars and those with chronic exposure to radiation and industrial effluents are at high risk. Most common sites are the face, pinna of the ears, back of hands, lips, anal canal and glans penis.
- Ulcerated growth with elevated and indurated margins
- Hard lump with a scaly top may be seen
Basal Cell Carcinoma:- It is a locally invasive, slow growing tumor of the middle aged. It occurs exclusively on the hairy skin. More commonly seen in people with lighter skin shades and those who are chronically exposed to sunlight. Most common sites of occurrence is the face. It is also known as a rodent ulcer.
- Ulceration with pearly rolled margins
- Painless raised ulcer
Your physician may recommend a biopsy following physical examination of the site of lesion.
Basis the biopsy report, your surgeon may suggest any one of the following surgical procedures to remove the cancerous growth.
1.Moh's Micrographic surgery: In this case, the surgeon removes the tumor layer by layer and examines the edges of the tumor for any cancer cells. This process is repeated until no more cancer cells are seen. This procedure results in lesser loss of healthy tissue.
2.Simple Excision: The tumor tissue is cut out with some amount of normal healthy tissue.
3.Shave Excision: The abnormal mass of tissue is cut off with a blade from the surface of skin.
4.Electrodessication and Curettage: The tumor is cut off from the skin using a curette- a spoon shaped tool. A needle shaped electrode is then kept at the cut ends of the tissue and an electric current is passed to stem the bleeding and kill the cancer cells. This procedure may be repeated one to three times during the surgery depending on the dimensions of the tumors.
5.Cryosurgery: This method uses an instrument to freeze and destroy the carcinoma in situ. This type of treatment is called cryotherapy.
- Blood clotting anomalies
- Difficulty in wound closing
- Wound Infection
- Suture reaction
- Unaesthetic result
Post Operative Care:-
- Try to avoid exposure to sun between 10 A.M - 4 P.M
- Avoid tanning under sun or tanning beds
- Be covered with clothing and, including a broad rimmed hat, and UV protectant sunglasses.
- Use broad spectrum sunscreens (UVA/UVB) of SPF 15 or above before stepping out of the house. Re apply every two hours once immediately after swimming or heavy exercise
- Examine your skin head to toe every month
- Consult your physician every year for professional skin examination
Care with Newborns:- Keep away from sun as much as possible.