Skin Cancer & Melanoma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Skin Cancer is abnormal growth of skin cells, often develops on skin exposed to the sun. However, this common form of cancer can also occur in the area of the skin that men living in sunlight.

There are three primary classifications of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell, carcinoma, and melanoma.

You can decrease the risk of skin cancer by limiting exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Check your skin from unusual changes; this can help you detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. The initial discovery of skin cancer gives you the highest chance of successful skin cancer treatment.

Where does Skin Cancer Develop
Skin cancer begins primarily in areas of sun-exposed skin, including the face, lips, neck, chest, ears, arms, hands, and the legs on a woman. However, it can also develop in areas that rarely see the light of day, such as, your palms, underneath the fingernails, toenails, and your genital area.

Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker skin tones. When melanoma happens in people with dark skin tones. It is more likely to occur in an area not regularly revealed to the sun, such as the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

Basal Cell Carcinoma signs and symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma usually occurs in the sun-exposed area of your body, such as your neck or face.

Basal cell carcinoma can appear as:

  • A flat flesh-colored or browns car-like lesion
  • A pearly or waxy bump

Squamous Cells Carcinoma Signs and Symptoms

Most often, squamous cell carcinoma occur on the sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face ears and hands. People with dark skin are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma on areas that aren’t often exposed to the sun.

Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:
A flat lesion with a scaly crusted surface

Melanoma Signs and Symptoms

Melanoma can develop anyplace on your body. However in normal skin or an existing mole, cancerous can grow. Melanoma most often appears on the face or the trunk specifically in men. In women, this kind of cancer most often originates on the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on skin that has not been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma can attack people of any skin tone. In people with dark skin tones, melanoma tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails.
Signs of Melanoma include:

  • Large brownish spots with dark speckles
  • Small lesions ith irregular board and portion that appear red, while blue, blue-black,
  • A mole that change in color size or feel or that bleeds.
  • Dark tension on your palms soles, toes, fingertips or mucous membranes in the lining of the nose, mouth, vagina or anus.

Signs and Symptoms of less Common Skin Cancer


Less common types of skin cancer include:

  • Kaposi sarcoma – This rare form of skin cancer occurs in the skin’s blood vessels and causes purple or red patches on the skin or mucous membranes
  • Kaposi sarcoma primarily occurs in people with impaired immune systems, such as people with HIV/ AIDs, as well as in people taking drugs that suppress their natural immunity, such as people who’ve experienced organ transplants.Other people with an increased risk of Kaposi sarcoma include young men living in Africa or older men of Eastern European Jewish heritage or Italian.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma – Merkel cell carcinoma causes shiny film noodles, that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Merkel Cell carcinoma is often found on the head, neck and trunk.Sebaceous gland carcinoma. This is a rare and aggressive cancer that develops in the oil glands in the skin. Sebaceous gland carcinomas – regularly appear as hard, painless nodules – can develop any wear. However, most occur in the eyelid, where this can mistaken for other eyelid problem.

Causes of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer occurs when errors when errors (mutations) occur in the DNA of skin cells. The mutations cause the cells to grow out of control and form a mass of cancer cells.

Cells that are affected by Cancer

Skin cancer begins in the top skin layer – The epidermis. The epidermis is a thin layer that provides protection to the skin cells, that continually grows and sheds. The epidermis consist of three different types of cells.

Squamous cells are just beneath the out surface serves as the skin’s inner lining.
Basal cells, develop new skin cells, sit below the squamous cells.
Melanocytes – produce melanins, the pigment that gives skin its normal color are located in the lower part of your epidermis. Melanocytes create melanin when you are in the sun to help protect the deeper layers of your skin.

The location of your skin cancer origination determines the type of treatment your treatment options

Ultraviolet light and other potential causes of skin cancer.

Much of the harm to the DNA in skin cancer in triggered by ultraviolet *UV) radiation found in sunlight and the light used in tanning beds. Sun exposure does not explain why skin cancer that develops in the skin, that is not normally exposed to sun light. This indicates that there are other factors that contribute to the risk of skin cancer. Being exposed to toxicity and other materials may weaken the immune

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  • People with fair skin – Skin cancer can occur in any skin color. Although having less pigment or melanin in the skin provides you with less protection from the damage that UV radiation can cause.
  • If you have red or blond hair and light color eyes, you can freckle and sunburn easily; you are much more likely to form skin cancer than a person with darker skin pigmentation.
  • Sunburns – having one or more sunburns as a child or teenager can increase your risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Also, receiving sunburns as an adult as causes increase risk.
  • Excessive sun exposure – A person that spends a considerable time in the sun may develop skin cancer, specifically if sunscreen or clothing do not shield the skin. Tanning under lamps can cause injury to your skin for UV radiation exposure.
  • Sunny or high-altitude Climates – Individuals who live in climates with higher levels of sunlight than people who live in colder climates, experience increased risk. Living at higher elevations, where there are greater sunlight and radiation, expose you to more risk.
  • Moles – People that have a lot of moles or abnormal moles called dysplastic nevi are at increased risk. The abnormal moles are more likely to become cancerous.
  • Precancerous skin lesions- Skin lesions also referred as actinic keratoses can increase your risk of developing cancer. Precancerous skin growth, appearing scaly, rough, and ranging in color from dark pink to brown, in patches, can reflect skin damage. These will most commonly occur on the face hands and head of people with fair skin.
  • Family History of family cancer– Family members, or siblings that have cancer can increase your risk
  • Personal history of cancer – If you’ve had cancer before, you are at higher risk of developing it again.
  • A weak immune system – People who have an immune system deficiency are at risk of developing skin cancer. People living with HIV/AIDs, and those taking immunosuppressant drugs, after an organ transplant
  • Exposure to radiation– People who received radiation treatment for skin conditions such as acne and eczema, particularly basal cell carcinoma.
    Exposure to certain substance -substances such as arsenic.

Test and Diagnostic for Skin Cancer

The first examination is looking at the skin. You doctor will look at the skin changes, and the test may be conducted to confirm a diagnosis.
Skin biopsy, removing a sample of the suspicious skin for lab testing. A biopsy will determine whether you have cancer, and what type of skin cancer you have.

Determining the extent of the skin cancer

If your doctor identifies that you have skin cancer, you may need an additional test to determine the stage of skin cancer that you have.

Since superficial skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma rarely spread, a biopsy, removing the entire growth will often be the only test needed to indicate the stage of cancer you have. If you have a large squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma may require more test to indicate the extent of cancer.

Additional test such as imaging test to examine the nearby lymph nodes for signs of cancer of a procedure to remove a nearby lymph node and test cancer via a sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Medicine utilize the Roman numerals I through IV to indicate the state of cancer. Stage I is small and limited to the original site. Stage IV indicates advance cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.

Treatment and Medications

There are multiple treatment options for skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin lesions ( actinic keratoses) which depends on the type, depth, size and location of the lesion. Small skin cancers that is limited to the surface of the skin may not require treatment beyond and initial skin biopsy that removes the entire growth.

A few additional treatment options

  • Freezing-Your doctor may destroy actinic keratose and some small, early skin cancer by freezing the affected area with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) The dead tissues comes off when it thaws
  • Excisional surgery – This treatment can be used for any skin cancer. Your doctor cuts off (excises) the cancerous tissues, and the surrounding margin of healthy skin – A wide excision (removing additional normal skin tissue around a tumor) may recommend sometimes.
  • Mohs – This is a procedure for difficult-to-treat skin cancers, reoccurring or larger skin cancers, which may be basal and squamous cell carcinomas. It may be utilized in areas where it is necessary to consider as much as skin as possible.
    With Mohs surgery, the surgeon will remove skin growth by each layer, examine each layer under the microbes until there are no more abnormal cells remaining. This course allows scenarios cells to be removed without taking an excessive amount of surrounding healthy
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy. Once most of the abnormal growth is gone, your doctor will cut away layers of cancer cells, using a circular blade (curet). An electric needle will destroy any remaining cancer cells. In a variation of the procedure, doctors will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the base and edge of the treated area.

These are straightforward and quick produces that can be used to treat thin squamous cell cancers or basal cell cancers.

  • Radiation therapy uses X-rays, high-powered energy beams to eliminate cancer cells. This can be an option may be available for cancer that was not completely removed during the initial surgery.
  • Chemotherapy drugs can be used to eliminate cancer cells. Cancer limited to the top layer of skin can be treated with cream or lotion containing anti-cancer agents that can be placed on the skin. Systemic chemotherapy can help treat skin cancers that spread to the other parts of the body.
  • Photodynamic therapy – This treatment destroys skin cancer cells, combined with laser light and rays on cancerous sensitive to light.
    Biological therapy, bilocal therapy is used in the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells.


  • Most Skin cancers are preventable. Below are a few tips to reduce your risk and help prevent skin cancer.
  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. In the North America, this can be 10 am to 4 pm. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even when it cloudy or winter time. UV radiation occurs year-round, with clouds offering little protection. Avoid sunburns and suntans. This causes skin damage and increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Sun exposure accumulated over time may cause skin cancer.
  • Wear sunscreen year round – sure do not filter out all harmful UV radiation, specifically the radiation that leads to melanoma. You broad -spectrum sunscreen with an SPF or at least 15.
  • Wear protection clothing ) Sunscreen do not provide complete protection from UV rays. So cover you skin with dark, tightly worn clothing includes you arms and legs.
  • Avoid tanning beds, The light that is used in tanning beds emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
  • Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications, such including antibiotics can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of any medication you take.

Check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor.s. Use mirrors on the face neck ears and scalp. Examine the chest and trunk, and tops and underneath the arms and hands. Check your legs and feet as well as the sole, Space between you toes, Check your genital area and between you buttocks as skin cancer can form in areas that are not exposed to the sun.