When the word “skin cancer” falls, most certainly think of the so-called black skin cancer, also called melanoma, which often results from liver spots or skin cancer moles.
WHAT IS SKIN CANCER?
Skin Cancer Definition: The term skin cancer includes various cancerous skin diseases. These include the so-called black skin cancer, called malignant melanoma, and the bright skin cancer, also called white skin cancer, which in turn includes basal cell carcinoma (basal celloma) and squamous cell carcinoma.
According to estimates by the World Health Organization, more than 200,000 cases of black skin cancer and two to three million new cases of white skin cancer occur annually. The highest growth rates are observed in Australia, where there are about 50 to 60 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants each year. In Central Europe, about 10 to 20 people per 100,000 inhabitants have affected annually.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN CANCER?
Skin Cancer Causes: It develops from the pigment-forming cells of the skin or the mucous membrane, the so-called melanocytes. One-third melanoma is formed from an already existing liver patch. The more they exist, the greater the risk of developing black skin cancer. Even a bright type of skin that is not or only very poorly brown is a risk factor for a malignant melanoma and is, therefore, one of the skin cancer causes.
- UV radiation: Basal cell carcinomas (basal cell carcinomas) arise from the cells of the so-called basal cell layer of the skin and the root sheaths of the hair follicles. They are usually formed in the head and neck area by a strong UV exposure and a hereditary tendency in connection with a bright skin type
- Beware of too much sun: Squamous cell carcinomas are usually formed on skin sites which have been exposed to very frequent and long sunlight, such as the face, and are therefore very light-damaged. Frequently they originate from a skin cancer precursor, actinic keratosis, rarely from chronic wounds, burn scars or other skin diseases. Squamous cell carcinomas are also among the causes of skin cancer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SKIN CANCER?
Skin Cancer Symptoms: At first malignant melanoma usually, shows no conspicuous skin cancer symptoms. Only in a few cases do patients notice an itching or a small bleeding from a liver spot. Malignant melanomas can look very different. They are usually dark or black spots, which may be flat, sublime or knotted. If the disease is not recognized and not treated, pain and weight loss may occur later. If a black skin cancer has spread to the brain, for example, neurological symptoms such as blurred vision or dizziness are possible.
- spots and nodules: Basal cell carcinomas do not always look the same. In most cases, they appear as yellowish-reddish nodes, surrounded by a bead-like margin, and small blood vessels glimmer on its surface. But they can also manifest themselves in the form of red spots or as scarred changes, which are not particularly noticeable. Advanced basal cell carcinomas often form ulcers that can soak and bleed. They are later but very clear skin cancer symptoms.
- Tumors grow nodular: The squamous cell carcinoma resembles, at the initial stage, a skin-coloured roughness on the skin surface. In the further course of the disease, the tumour grows nodular and has typical, firming horns as one of the skin cancer symptoms. These cannot be solved with the finger or bleed when trying to detach them.
WHAT TREATS SKIN CANCER?
Skin Cancer Treatment: The first step of skin cancer treatment (malignant melanoma) is an operation in which the tumor is completely removed. Depending on the size of the tumor, some healthy tissue is removed to a safe distance from the edge.
Immunotherapy: For melanomas that are more than two millimetres thick, a so-called immunotherapy with interferon alpha is recommended after surgery. This active ingredient stimulates the immune system to fight any remaining non-visible tumour cells to prevent the development of metastases. If metastases have already been formed in internal organs, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or a combined chemo-immunotherapy for skin cancer treatment can be carried out in addition to surgery, depending on the location.
Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas should also be completely removed. In most cases, this is also done within the scope of a small surgical procedure, in which the adjacent lymph nodes are taken as well. If surgery is not possible or is a very early form of carcinoma, there are alternative skin cancer treatments such as:
- Scraping (curettage)
- Distance with high-frequency current (electrodesiccation)
- laser therapy
- Icing (cryotherapy)
- Photodynamic therapy
- Local chemotherapy
- Local immunotherapy
Radiation Therapy: These therapy methods destroy the skin tissue superficially, but they can not simultaneously be checked at the same time whether the entire tumour tissue has been removed. In advanced stage tumours with possible metastasis, another skin cancer treatment can be performed as in the case of metastatic black skin cancer.