Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
The origin of skin cancer is said to be mostly in the epidermis layer. This layer is composed of three types of cells namely the melanocyte, squamous and basal. Skin cancer is also categorized into three types namely Melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Basal Cell Carcinoma.
- Melanoma is a type of tumor made of melanin cells it is highly malignant in nature. Until recently it was assumed that melanoma occurs only in people with light skin tones, but case studies have revealed that it can occur in dark toned skin also.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma is known to cause complications in skin health but no chronic conditions have been reported so far.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma mostly occurs in sun exposed skin parts like face and neck regions.
Skin Cancer Screening Tips
Skin cancer screening is a process of visually inspecting the patient’s skin by the specialist. When the specialist observes any irregular skin conditions he may ask you to go for diagnostic test.
The American Cancer Society has set up certain standard procedures for diagnosing skin cancer. They consist of scans, biopsies and blood tests for determining the nature and intensity of skin cancer accurately.
Some of the methods are listed here for your reference.
- Blood tests are used for Squamous and basal types of cancer. In some rare cases they are also applied for checking on advanced stages of melanoma. This process also involves checking of kidneys, liver and bone marrow cells to check their proper functionality.
- MRI-Scans are conducted for creation of cross sectional image of the affected /scanned area in the skin. It considers maximum number of permutation and combination of angles to capture the images. Then they are put together to analyze the origin point of cancer and the path in which it has spread all over the skin. They help doctors in planning treatment procedures.
- PET (Positron-Emission-Test) is to determine the spread of skin cancer to the levels of lymph nodes. Doctors find it easy to treat patients suffering from advanced melanoma using the results of this type of scan.
- Imaging-tests are conducted to study about the spreading of melanoma from skin layer to the internal organs (especially lymph node). This test also reveals the effectiveness of treatment methods used by the doctors.
- Biopsies are conducted to collect tissue samples from the affected regions and testing them in the laboratory. The most commonly sued types are tangential, incision, optical, fine needle aspiration, lymph node and sentinel lymph node.
If you are diagnosed positive for skin cancer then you need to take certain steps for preserving the current skin health until you undergo surgery, therapy or medication treatments depending on the nature and intensity of cancer.
If you are tested negative for cancer then you can be relieved for the moment. However you need to take certain precautionary measures to avoid cancer entering your skin in the future.
- Use complete skin covering clothes and protective hat when you go out into the sun during day time, especially from 10 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon.
- Full sleeve shirts are recommended, especially during summer and in tropical regions. If you happen to use short sleeves, you need to ensure that you have covered the exposed skin parts with sun screen lotion. Wear goggles to your eyes.
- It is recommended that you avoid using of tanning beds and other artificial UV devices for getting your skin tanned. They can result in probable skin cancer in the long run. You may find non UV and safe methods for tanning your skin which you can use.
- Keep the infants, kids and adolescents out of direct contact with different sources of UV radiation.
- You need to consult your family doctor once in a month and test your skin for cancer or symptoms of other malignant types of diseases.
Skin Care Tips For Cancer Patients
If your skin is diagnosed positively for cancer you need to consider some or all of the following guidelines and put them into practice.
- Chemotherapy is used from mild to higher levels for treating skin cancer of multiple nature and intensity. The main purpose of care is to prevent long term side effects on your skin. Patients are recommended to use skin moisturizers in the form of creams or ointments and avoid lotions. It is done in order to balance the levels of hydration within your skin layers.
- You can use ammonium lactate for increasing hydration levels in the skin. This type of cream will have to be applied twice a day, once in the morning and second time before retiring to bet at night.
- Sun Screens need to be used at regular intervals in order to overcome dry skin that your may acquire during chemotherapy. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are most commonly used elements for preserving the moisture levels in your skin.
- Use itch guards to keep your skin away from such sensations. It is better not to scratch the skin surface with the help of nails or other sharp device when you get the sensations of itching on your skin. Remember this can adversely affect your skin health further.
- Chemotherapy can make your nails brittle and susceptible to breaks. Sometimes you may also observe inflammation in the nail areas which can spread to other parts of skin. Apply natural /herbal nail protection creams to take care of your nails.
Tips On How To Avoid Skin Cancer
According to latest skin cancer statistics conducted across US, one from every 6 people has mild signs of developing skin cancer. It is imperative that you take appropriate steps for skin cancer prevention.
When the symptoms are made visible in the beginning of disease you will be able to find alternate methods of medication which help in preventing further growth of disease. Even otherwise you can use some of the tips specified in the list above to keep your skin stay away from skin cancer in the long run.