Just how common is skin cancer? Well, it turns out that one in three people living with cancer have it, and the risk factor of getting it keeps increasing every year. This happens due to the damage to the ozone layer, which keeps letting in more and more UV radiation. Ten years from now, it is estimated that one in two cancers diagnosed will be the skin cancer. Too much sun exposure, along with a genetic predisposition toward cancer, can cause you to develop skin cancer. A sign that you are more vulnerable to developing skin cancer is if you have fair skin, bright-colored eyes, light-colored hair, freckles, or an increased number of moles. Like other forms of cancer, the treatment depends on what stage the cancer is in upon diagnosis.
Excision is most widely used as the treatment for the first three stages of skin cancer. Since it starts as an unhealthy patch of skin, getting rid of it is not much of an issue. The doctor simply uses a rounded scalpel to cut the cancerous mass away. Though this stage of treatment is fairly simple, many are unaware of their illness until it progresses to a stage beyond the help of excision.
Also known as radiotherapy, irradiation allows the doctors to target specific cancer cells in your body and kill them off using x-rays. One may wonder what happens to the rest of the body, the part that's in the way between the radiation machine and the cancer tissue? You needn't worry, as scientists and researchers have worked on perfecting this method, meaning that there's very little harm to your healthy cells. Even if they do get damaged, they will heal over time and go back to normal.
If you've seen movies about cancer patients, you probably aren't a fan of the idea of chemotherapy. Its risks do not make it less valid as a type of treatment. The method involves a constant intake of massive doses of medications that have the potential to combat cancerous cells and remove them from the system. The immense impact that these drugs make on the patient's body is what causes all the side-effects, such as vomiting, paleness, sweating, and generally feeling weak.
The skin cancer treatment procedure also known as electrosurgery involves the use of a technologically advanced skin removal tool, with a ring-like tip and a needle for extra growth penetration. Electricity heats the entire instrument to prevent bleeding, which makes it almost unnoticeable by the patient when combined with area-numbing painkillers. The procedure is repeatable, and it involves constant re-burning of the extra layers of tissue even after the initial removal, so as to ensure that the cancerous cells won't form again. As much as the procedure may be statistically successful, patients will have to opt for different methods when treatment areas are more sensitive, including the face and genitalia.
Cryosurgery is like something straight out of the future, but our widespread advanced technology has made it available in nearly every hospital. This procedure involves using a spray device that spreads liquid nitrogen over the target tissue, thus freezing it and destroying any cells within. What makes cryosurgery amazing is the fact that it causes no discomfort to the patient, it requires no anesthetics whatsoever, and it lets the malignant cells dry up and naturally fall off in a few weeks. This type of treatment is rarely used, however, due to its low rate of success. Unless the cancer is entirely superficial, cryosurgery won't be likely to remove it completely.
For any skin cancer ranging from stage 0 and stage 3, the Mohs surgery is ideal. With a very thin scalpel, an experienced physician removes the cancer tissue and a very thin layer of healthy cells under it. The layer is then tested for any remaining cancerous cells, and if none have been found, the surgery is complete. This simple yet extremely effective procedure has shown a 94-99% success on a global scale, and it is considered to be the most viable superficial skin cancer treatment type.
Commonly referred to as PDT, the photodynamic therapy is the best type of treatment for any facial and skull-bound carcinoma growth. Photosensitive chemicals are applied to the diseased areas of skin, which are soon absorbed by the cancerous cells. After a few hours, the patient is exposed to intense flashes of light that neutralize the growth by frying its inner tissue. The healthy area around it takes some of the damage, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a little recovery. Patients need to stop all types of light from hitting the designated areas for the following recuperation period, which may sometimes take weeks.
While primary chemotherapy involves taking numerous drugs to make cancer subside, topical chemotherapy is the act of applying various anticancer chemicals to the affected area of the skin. This external type of chemotherapy mostly relies on the 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) chemical, which can penetrate and dissolve most superficial skin cancers, but it is still unable to reach any deeper tumorous growth. This procedure is favorable when it comes to removing pre-cancerous areas of the skin, as well as skin cancer in its early stages.
The laser tissue removal procedure is often one of the last resorts for superficial cancer removal procedures. It has a much higher penetration rate than other techniques, and it gives the surgeon more control over the destruction of tissue, which minimizes the unwanted cell casualties. Additionally, the laser beam automatically seals blood vessels as it cuts, meaning that patients with bleeding difficulties will face no risks by undertaking the operation. However, laser surgery tends to cause tissue scarring at a much higher rate, and it still doesn't guarantee the complete removal of skin cancer, which is why it still isn't an approved method.
While this isn't a form of treatment in itself, it will almost always determine what type of help you will be getting, as well as whether your condition can be helped at all. Finding out that you have skin cancer in its early stages almost definitely means you are safe from any further complications while realizing this too late can prove fatal.
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