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Skin Cancer Treatment in India

Skin Cancer

Skin cancers are cancers that arise from the skin. They are due to the development of abnormal cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Causes of Skin Cancer

  • Sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the main environmental cause of most skin cancers. …
  • Sunbeds. Reguarly using sunlamps and sunbeds can increase the risk of developing some skin cancers. …
  • Previous skin cancers. …
  • Previous radiotherapy treatment. …
  • Lowered immunity. …
  • Exposure to chemicals. …
  • Genetic conditions.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell cancers may:

  • be smooth and pearly
  • look waxy
  • appear as a firm, red lump
  • bleed sometimes
  • develop a crust or scab
  • begin to heal but never completely heal
  • be itchy
  • look like a flat, red spot which is scaly and crusty
  • develop into a painless ulcer.

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell cancers usually develop in areas that have been damaged by sun exposure. They are mainly found on the face, neck, bald scalps, arms, backs of hands and lower legs. Squamous cell cancers may:

  • look scaly
  • have a hard, horny cap
  • make the skin raised in the area of the cancer
  • feel tender to touch
  • bleed sometimes.

Some of the symptoms of melanoma include –

  • Bruise on the foot that does not heal
  • A mole on the skin which is changing in shape or color and is also growing
  • Black or brown streak underneath toenail or fingernail
  • Appearance of new dark spot that looks like a mole and also grows quickly
  • Bleeding, pain or itch in a new spot on the skin
  • A bleeding and scaly mole on the skin

Stages of Skin Cancer

Stage 0

Stage 0 is also called Bowen’s disease or carcinoma in situ. Carcinoma means there are cancer cells there. In situ means the cells are still in the place where they started to develop. So the cells have started to turn into cancer, but they have not yet spread or grown into surrounding areas of the skin. If it is not treated, Bowen’s disease can develop into a squamous cell skin cancer.

Stage 1

Stage 1 means the cancer is 2cm across or less and has 1 or no high risk features.

High risk features mean the cancer

  • Is more than 2mm thick
  • Has grown into the lower dermis
  • Has grown into the space around a nerve (perineural invasion)
  • Started on the ear or lip
  • Looks very abnormal under the microscope (the cells are poorly differentiated or undifferentiated)

Stage 2

Stage 2 means the cancer is more than 2cm across, or has 2 or more high risk features.

Stage 3

Stage 3 means the cancer

  • Has grown into the bones in the face, such as the jaw bone or the bone around the eye, OR
  • Has spread to a nearby lymph node (or lymph gland) on the same side of the body (and is less than 3cm)

Stage 4

Stage 4 means the cancer

  • Has grown into the spine, ribs or lower part of the skull, OR
  • Has spread to a lymph node that is more than 3cm OR to an internal organ, such as the lungs

Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

Treatment of Skin Cancer

Surgery

Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be successfully treated with surgery. In most cases the surgery is minor. The affected area is completely removed, usually under local anaesthetic

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy can be used to treat basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy tablets or injections are only used in certain circumstances for skin cancer. More often, chemotherapy creams are used

  • To treat actinic keratosis
  • For skin cancers that are only on the top layer of the skin

Immunotherapy

Interferon stimulates your body’s immune system to pick out and fight cancer cells. Interferon is sometimes used to treat advanced squamous cell cancers that started in the nose, mouth or elsewhere inside the head and neck area

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

This is a relatively new type of treatment. It is another alternative to surgery. PDT uses a drug that makes skin cells sensitive to light. The area of skin that needs treating is exposed to a special type of light, and the cancer cells are destroyed