Skin cancer treatment is a type of cancer that is relatively easier to treat and less invasive than other cancer types such as lung cancer or pancreatic cancer. However, just like in any other type of cancer, it is important to detect cancer before it progresses into an advanced stage.
There are lots of different kinds of skin cancer. Apart from the location where cancer develops, the feature they share is the cause of skin cancer, which is generally an overt exposure to the sun. Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer, affecting hundreds of thousands of patients every year. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be easily treated. There are two main types of skin cancer:
• Non-melanoma skin cancers – these cases are relatively more easily treated that include basal cell cancer, and squamous skin cancer. These skin cancers are usually concentrated on the outside layers of the skin and do not reach deeper, at least not in the first stages.
• Melanoma skin cancers – these kinds of skin cancer are more malign because of their possibility to grow inwards, easily affecting the patient’s other organs.
Skin cancer can be easily detected by patients if they pay attention to their skin, especially the parts that are exposed to the sun. Patients who sunbathe extensively are at high risk of having skin cancer. However, it is known that sunbathing in later hours (after 3 pm) or using sun cream, minimalizes the risk of skin cancer. Abnormal skin change is one of the most common symptoms of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be diagnosed by medical examination and biopsy.
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Many patients are suitable for skin cancer treatment. However, some of the patients may not be suitable because of other medical problems they have, such as other kinds of cancer.
There is no exact skin cancer treatment preparation required. However, the patients should inform their doctors about other medical conditions they have and the medications they are taking. This way, appropriate treatment for skin cancer can be prepared for the patient.
There are several treatment alternatives available, depending on the type of skin cancer and its stage.
• Skin cancer surgery – the surgeons, might attempt to remove cancer tissue, specifically in the early stages of skin cancer.
• Electrosurgery – In this procedure with the use of heat, cancer cells are burned, and bleeding is prevented
• Cryosurgery – Likewise, by using extreme heat, skin cancer cells are destroyed without harming other body cells
• Laser surgery – it provides similar results to cryosurgery and electrosurgery using a special type of laser
• Chemotherapy treatment for skin cancer – chemotherapy can be used as a supportive skin cancer treatment, or it can be beneficial in prolonging the patient’s life when cancer has already spread to other organs. During chemotherapy, strong drugs are used to fight cancer cells.
• Radiation therapy – in this treatment technique, radiation is used to fight skin cancer cells. Radiation therapy has two kinds: external radiation therapy (radiation created by a machine) or internal radiation therapy (radioactive elements are injected or swallowed and reach the site of skin cancer)
The recovery period of skin cancer treatment depends mostly on the combination of methods used to eliminate specific skin cancer. The recovery period of a skin cancer operation might be fast while chemotherapy and radiation therapy have a longer recovery period because of their side effects.
Skin cancer treatment techniques such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy might cause some complications, such as:
• Damage to lungs
• Problems with other organs such as kidneys
• Neurological problems
Also, skin cancer surgery might lead to complications such as bleeding and difficulties with closing the wound.
Even though chemotherapy and radiation therapy are very effective treatment techniques, they might cause some side effects that may last for weeks, months, or even years involving:
• Nausea, vomiting
• Difficulties with concentration and memory
• Overall state of weakness and tiredness
Older patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer mostly have less chance to survive than younger patients. The survival rate of stage one skin cancer is over %90.
What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?
The most common symptoms of skin cancer involve skin changes such as atypical moles, red, brown, or even blackish spots, that grow in time.
How Can I Avoid Skin Cancer?
There are no totally effective methods but avoiding extensive sunbathing, especially in the high sun, is advised by doctors. Also, it is very important to use sunscreen that is suitable for your skin.
What is the difference between Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?
Melanomas are more malignant skin cancers, easily reaching under the skin and spreading throughout the body. It is easier to treat non-melanomas since they do not become malignant so often and quickly.