Squamous cell carcinoma is the result of excessive exposure to light and UV radiation. This may also be caused by having a condition that weakens your immune system or by experiencing mass amounts of exposure to toxic chemicals. Although, it is quite common to develop squamous cell carcinoma, people with paler skin tones are at a much higher risk of developing this condition than someone with a darker complexation. This cancer begins by planting itself in the squamous cells within the outer and middle layers of the skin; however it is not uncommon for it to spread to other major parts of the body causing major health issues. When squamous cell carcinoma does develop, it takes the form of a pre-cancerous growth, also known as actinic keratosis, or AK. This growth may feel itchy, irritated and painful. The only way to successfully diagnose SCC is by having a dermatologist perform a skin biopsy where either all, or a section of, the growth is removed and sent to lab. Once diagnosed, the best possible form of treatment is dependent on how far and how deep the cancer has spread. Some methods of treatment include radiation, extraction, light therapy, surgery and more. The best route to preventing this common form of cell cancer is to try avoiding excessive UV radiation that may appear via prolonged exposure to sunlight, lamps, tanning beds, etc.
Get an overview of basal and squamous cell skin cancer and the latest key statistics in the US.
Basal cell carcinoma is caused by DNA inside of the skin cells becoming damaged through repeated, unprotected exposure to UV radiation, most commonly sunlight. This damaged DNA causes the basal cells, located in the basal cell layer or the lower part of the epidermis, to rapidly reproduce creating a buildup of mutated and abnormal cells. This eventually, results in a cancerous tumor growing within the epidermis. It is also very likely to reoccur and redevelop after already experiencing it once in your life time. Taking place in parts of the body that are most commonly exposed to sunlight, such as the head or neck, it is not likely that this cancer will spread to larger parts of the body after already burrowing in one location. BCC has many of the same symptoms and treatments as squamous cell cancer; however unlike SCC older males are more likely to develop this form of cancer in their life time. These treatments may include radiation, light therapy, extraction, etc., all depending on the terms and conditions of the cancer. Just like with SCC, the best way to diagnose it is through a skin biopsy done by a licensed dermatologist. As you would with any other illness, the earlier the diagnosis the better. With this cancer, treatment should be taken very seriously in order to prevent it from growing deeper and potentially destroying bone, tissue and skin. To help the prevention of basal cell cancer, keep regular appointments with a dermatologist, preform self-exams to make sure no new growth has occurred in or on the skin and always try to protect exposed skin from receiving too much UV light radiation by wearing sunscreen.
Similar to basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma is a skin cancer caused by excessive amounts of unprotected UV light. Melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanocytes and can form anywhere on the body, but most commonly in the areas of the body that are regularly exposed to UV rays. The first signs of melanoma developing are often a change in an existing mole or a growth appearing on the skin. More likely to form in women under the age of forty and people with darker skin, this is caused when UV rays damage the DNA of the skin cells. Melanoma appears on the skin, meaning it can sometimes be diagnosed just by appearance; however the most accurate way to diagnose this skin cancer is via a biopsy by a licensed professional. After an official diagnosis, if caught in the early stages the best form of treatment is often surgery. If spread too far, those effected will commonly have to undergo chemotherapy or another version of therapy specific to the conditions of the cancer such as radiation therapy or biological therapy. The most effective way to prevent any form of skin cancer, more specifically melanoma, is to become familiar with your skin in order to notice any sudden or drastic changes. It is also important to shield exposed skin from UV radiation, whether that’s through sunscreen, an SPF lip balm or simply avoiding too much sun.
Information on the causes and prevention of melanoma.