Face is the vital organ of human body and any small change in facial complexion will seriously affect personality of women. Skin cancer can occur in any part of the body and when it affects your face, you should not delay in consulting your dermatologist, since there is chance for further spreading and spoiling the entire face area. It may totally scar your face leaving untreatable marks.
If you observe any sudden change in the skin of the face such as new growth, red bumps, change in color and painful sore that does not heal, then you have to consult your doctor immediately. Though these are the signs of simple acne still you have to ensure that it is not due to melanoma.
Moles are formed on the face and not all of them become carcinogenic. Moles can be removed easily by cryotherapy or by using liquid nitrogen for freezing it. For many people moles are present right from birth and they would have hundreds of moles in the body. Most of them are harmless and do not pose any problem for the person.
Sometimes moles grow bigger in size during adolescence and get darkened. There are moles called solar lentigines which are flat and brown colored spots on the face. But they are indication of aging process and exposure to sun.
Is Skin Cancer A Disease?
Skin, being the largest organ of human body serves us in many ways. It protects your body from many pathogens, it regulates body temperature and it protects the system from excessive loss of water. Skin is highly vulnerable to pollutants in the environment and hence undergoes damage. Ageing is another important factor that damages the skin cells gradually.
Skin Cancer Statistics In The US
Skin cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in the USA. As per the data given by the American Academy of Dermatology one out of five Americans would develop skin cancer at some point of time in their life. Each day roughly 8,500 fresh cases are diagnosed in America.
The rate of melanoma has almost doubled over the period of three decades. If detected in early stages basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma can be cured completely. The patient can survive for 5 years, with melanoma cancer if detected before it spreads to the nearby lymph nodes. Melanoma is the worst type of skin cancer causing 75% of deaths.
Skin Cancer Information
Cancer of any form occurs due to defective gene mutation of DNA cells. Over-exposure to harsh rays of sun is believed to be the major cause of skin cancer. It appears as flat flesh colored lesion on any part of the skin.
Abnormal changes would occur in the outer layer of skin cells causing visible lesions. Men over 50 years are at 3 times risk when compared with women of same age. If detected in early stage skin cancer can be managed. Treatment for skin cancer includes medications, chemotherapy, immune therapy and surgery. Skin cancer has become a major health issue in many countries of the world.
Skin Cancer Types
Skin cancer is of 3 types namely basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Among these, the first two types are non-melanoma causing less damage and are curable. But melanoma cancer can be life threatening.
- Melanoma – The first sign of melanoma starts with strong pigmented tissue of the skin like that of mole. It largely appears in the hands and legs first and subsequently on the chest and back. In rare cases it appears in the mouth or even genitals or under a fingernail. Melanoma can be easily detected and cured if treated promptly. Melanoma progresses quickly and spreads to nearby tissues and lymph nodes affecting many parts of the body like brain and bones. After this condition melanoma is difficult to be treated.
- Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Both these types are fully treatable and they do not cause any danger to life. They do not even spread to other parts of the body and if at all it progresses it is very slow.
Which Part Of The Skin Is Targeted ?
- Skin cancer can develop in any part of the body but primarily the areas like face, ears, neck, arms, hands and soles of the feet.
- Skin cancer is not reserved to fair complexioned alone it affects anyone irrespective of his/her color and skin tone.
- Melanoma targets dark complexioned people largely and it affects the areas like palms and soles which are not at all exposed to the sun.
Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms
- Skin cancer can be detected by small visible changes in the skin. It can cause waxy bump or lesions that are flesh or brown colored. Tiny lesions may appear on the face or neck region if it is basal cell carcinoma.
- Squamous carcinoma targets your ears, face and hands and is largely confined with dark complexioned people. It appears as firm or flat lesion with crusted or scaly surface.
- Melanoma is the most dangerous of skin cancer types. The first symptom appears on the face or chest region in men and on the legs in women. It targets the area that is not exposed to the sun. It appears as brown spots moderately sized or small mole that keeps on changing its color and size or as small lesion of differently colored like red or blue or black with no defined border.
When To Check With Your GP
If you see any noticeable changes in your skin (it can be tiny) you can check with your doctor or dermatologist.
Skin Cancer Causes
- Defective mutations in the skin cells are believed to the cause of skin cancer. Skin cells begin to grow in uncontrolled fashion which then assembles to form a tumor.
- Skin Cells – Epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin which is made of three cells namely the squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes. The cell at which the cancer begins is a major issue in treating it.
- Exposure To Sun – Harsh ultraviolet rays of sun can cause skin cancer. Prolonged use of tanning beds is also a major cause for skin cancer. UV rays are powerful enough to change the genetic material of the skin cells triggering error mutations. Using sunlamps and X-rays often can cause malignant mutations of skin cells.
- Sunburn that occurs during teenage or childhood can increase the risk of getting melanoma later in your life.
Who Are At Risk?
- Being fair complexioned increases the risk of skin cancer.
- A person with previous history of sunburns is at increased risk of skin cancer.
- Over exposure to sun for prolonged time doubles the risk of skin cancer.
- Prolonged use of tanning beds and tanning lamps poses high risk of skin cancer.
- People with many moles are at risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
- People with family history of skin cancer are liable to develop skin cancer.
- Weakened immunity, exposure to radiation therapy and certain poisonous substances like arsenic can cause skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Tests
- The doctor will complete physical exam and collect the medical history. If he suspects anything abnormal, he would do skin biopsy but taking a sample and testing it for melanoma.
- He would check the lymph nodes of the affected site to ensure it is normal in size.
- Imaging tests like PET scan; CT scan and MRI scan can give accurate position.
Skin Cancer Face Pictures :
Images, Pics, Pictures, Photos of Skin Cancer Face
Skin Cancer Staging
There are various stages ranging from 1 to 4 of skin cancer. The first stage is small and very limited and the final stage is the advanced type of cancer.
Skin Cancer Treatment
- Stage of cancer and type of cancer is vital in treating skin cancer.
- Melanoma can be treated fully if detected in early stages since it has affected only the skin. But if melanoma has advanced and invaded to lymph nodes it cannot be cured.
- Treatment for melanoma includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery and targeted therapy.
The surgeon cuts or excises the affected tissue along with some healthy skin. In some cases removing extra skin around the tumor becomes necessary.
Cryosurgery is a method of freezing the cancerous lesions with liquid nitrogen which would gradually slough off giving room for fresh skin layer.
This method is chosen only for large sized skin cancer. The surgeon cuts open the affected skin by layer by layer and studies them with the help of microscope to ensure no abnormal cells are present. In this method, excessive volumes of healthy skin cells are removed.
Medications are used for destroying cancerous cells in the skin. It can be either oral pills or topical creams.
High powered beam of light is employed to kill cancer cells. Often this is used before or after surgery. Laser therapy is the latest type of treating skin cancer in which laser beam is used for killing cancer causing cells.
Skin Cancer Prevention
- You cannot totally prevent skin cancer. But you can take efforts to reduce the risk.
- Self exam of your skin can be done once in a while. You can get help from your friend or partner for examining each part closely to detect any abnormality.
- Consult your doctor promptly if you see any noticeable changes in your skin texture or structure.
- Avoid going out in harsh sunlight. If necessary wear protective clothing to mask the rays of sun. Plan any outdoor activities after 4 pm or before 10 am. Damage caused by the sun rays is harsh even in winter days or the sky is cloudy.
- Apply sunscreen lotion liberally and use products that have SPF 15 or above.
- Reduce the time you spend on tanning beds.
ABCDE Of Skin Cancer
- Skin cancers are Asymmetrical. Malignant moles or lesions on the skin are not always symmetrical in shape.
- Malignant lesions do not have definite or distinct Border. Often the borders of such moles are uneven.
- Cancer causing lesions on the skin will not be of same Color. The color includes variety with shades of brown, blue or black. It is a warning sign of skin cancer.
- Melanoma will have a larger Diameter than benign moles.
- And lastly the malignant melanomas are Evolving in nature. They do not remain in the same shape or color or texture. It keeps on changing and evolving.