Just because it’s cold outside, it does not mean that the skin is protected from the harmful effects of sunlight. Actually, the intake of ultraviolet radiation is the same for people skiing as in summer for those who go to the beach. Researchers have found that the UV can be as high in the mountains in winter, as in mid-summer at the beach. There is a large amount of UV during winter. The sun is reflected by the snow and comes straight to you from all directions. Thus, people are more predisposed to skin cancer, the main focus of this article.
Skin cancer is considered to be an abnormal growth of skin cells. It often develops in those parts of the skin which remain exposed to sunlight. However, sometimes the common forms of this disease may also occur in those parts of the skin which do not get so much exposure to sunlight. The best way to prevent this disease is to avoid overexposure of your skin to sunlight. Actually the Ultra Violet radiation can be the underlying cause and hence the more you can avoid exposure to UV rays, the more protected you are. Early identification of this disease can help in curing it. You must be observant to any major changes on your skin to identify the early symptoms of cancer. If you feel you may have a skin lesion resembling to skin cancer, you may want to check some skin cancer pictures as well.
Types and Symptoms Related to Skin Cancer
Three types of skin cancers have been identified by doctors. They are- melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. The most vulnerable zones for skin cancer include face, ears, lips, neck, legs, hands, chest and arms. These are the areas which are usually most exposed to the UV rays. The genital region, underneath toenails, fingernails and palms are also spaces where skin cancer may develop. People of any complexion can be afflicted by this disease. Melanoma can occur in people with dark complexion and in those areas which generally remain unexposed.
You will know that you have developed basal cell carcinoma when waxy or pearly bumps appear on the affected zones. A gash with the color of the flesh will appear on the skin which indicates that it may be a basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma can be identified by a red and firm nodule on the skin or a flat scratch with crusted or scaly surface appears on lips, hands, ears and face. Melanoma can be identified by a mole that appears blood red and changes color on a part of the skin. Sometimes a spot of dark brown color appears on the skin and at other times lesion in different colors and irregular border appears on the skin. Some of the rare skin cancer varieties include Merkel cell carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma and Sebaceous gland carcinoma.
Conditions that Cause Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is basically caused due to over growth of skin cells. Mutations or errors are formed inside the DNA of skin. These errors develop and form a group of cancer cells. The first layer of skin that gets affected by cancer is the epidermis. This is the topmost layer which is sometimes shed by the body. This layer is composed of cells including the Melanocytes, basal cells and squamous cells. Melanocytes give the skin its color. Basal cells create new skin cells and the squamous cells are situated just beneath the surface and serves as the inner lining of the skin. These cells get affected during the development of skin cancer.
Ultra Violet ray is the foremost cause of skin cancer. The major source of UV ray is the sunlight and other sources include tanning beds and tanning lamps. However, other conditions may also be responsible for causing skin cancer such as weakening of the immune system and exposure to toxic substances. Sunburns may also cause skin cancer, so also moles. Fair people are more vulnerable to skin cancer because less volume of melanin is present in their skin which means less protection from UV rays. Sunny climates leading to too much exposure to the sun burns can also cause skin cancer. If your skin is prone to developing lesions, then it may result into skin cancer in the long run. It may also be hereditary or develop with the increase in age. If your skin has prolonged contact with arsenic, then also chances of skin cancer developing is quite high.
Treatment of Skin Cancer
Treatment is meted out to skin cancer patients on the basis of the cancer stage/progress. If the cancer has not spread extensively, skin biopsy is enough to remove the growth. However, if it spreads, then extensive treatment is required. Excisional surgery is a good way to remove the cancer cells from within the skin. Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the developing cells and remove it. Mohs surgery is a complicated one for stubborn or recurring skin cancer in which the surgeon operates the cells layer by layer and removes the abnormal cells.
Laser therapy is an effective way that uses laser to heat and vaporize the growths with minimal skin damage and bleeding. Other processes include Radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Curettage and electrodesiccation, Biology therapy and Photodynamic therapy.