by AK Team
Skin cancer, as the name itself suggests is the cancer of skin that occurs due to the abnormal growth of the skin cells.
The cells of the skin first divide and replicate normally, but then due to some reasons, the oncogenes (the cancer causing genes) that are present in every cell but in inactivated form, gets activated. Usually the factor that activates the oncogenes are the UV (ultraviolet) rays of the sun. now due to this activation of oncogenes, the cells start to divide and replicate abnormally directly leading to skin cancer.
It is mostly common in individuals those are more exposed to sunlight as there are chances that the oncogene might get activated in the skin due to direct exposure of skin to UV (ultraviolet) rays.
TYPES OF SKIN CANCER
There are various types of skin cancer. The type of cancer means at what location of the skin the cancer is being developed. The various types of skin cancer are listed below :
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- The most common type of cancer of the skin is basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Basal cell carcinoma, as the name itself suggests begins in the basal cells of the skin
- Basal cells of the skin are the cells within the skin where new cells are produced as the old cells are sloughed off or they die
- This type of cancer usually occurs in the parts of the skin that are more exposed and prone to the UV rays of the sunlight for example head, neck, arms, hands, etc.
- This cancer does not occur immediately, when the skin is exposed for a longer period of time to the UV rays consistently, after that it occurs
- This type is more common in people who have fair skin color (that is less of melanin). However it can occur to anyone at any age and with any type of skin
- The early diagnosis of this type can help in a better treatment and an early recovery from the disease.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma is also a common type of cancer that occurs in the skin
- Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the squamous cells of the skin
- Squamous cells are the cells in the skin that make up the outer and the middle layers of the skin
- Usually this type of cancer is not as deadly or life threatening as other types, but it can be aggressive
- Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma also occurs due to consistent long – term exposure of skin to the UV rays
- This type of cancer is usually of non – invasive type (do not spread to other parts of the body), but it is left untreated for a longer period of time then it might become an invasive type (that is it can spread to other parts of the body as well)
- The most serious type of cancer that occurs in the skin, that is most deadly and most life – threatening is melanoma
- Melanoma occurs in the skin cells that are known as melanocytes
- Melanocytes cells of the skin are the skin that contain the melanin pigment
- Melanin is the pigment that imparts our skin its color
- Melanoma usually just occurs in the skin, but it can also occurs in the areas just as inside of nose, throat and even in the eyes
- This type of cancer can occur to people of any age, but people who are under the age of 40, especially females are most prone to it and are likely to have this type of cancer the most
- The exact cause of this type of cancer is not known, but it is indirectly caused by UV rays
- Individuals can reduce the risk of this type of cancer by reducing exposure of skin to direct UV rays
- Sebaceous carcinoma is a very rare type of cancer that occurs in the skin
- Sebaceous carcinoma occurs in the sebaceous glands of the skin
- Sebaceous glands are the oil glands in the skin
- This type of cancer along with affecting the skin also majorly affects the eyelids
- When this type of cancer occurs in the skin, it usually occurs as a lump or a thickening which is usually painless, but when this type of cancer occurs on any other part of the body other than skin, there it usually occurs as a yellowish lump that may bleed sometimes
- Sebaceous cancer is usually a non – invasive (that do not spread to other parts of the body) type of cancer but it may become invasive (that spread to other parts of the body) if it is left untreated
- The treatment of this type of cancer is usually a surgery in which this cancer is removed
Merkel cell carcinoma
- Another rare type of cancer of skin is merkel cell carcinoma
- This type of cancer of skin can occur to people of any age but it is most likely to occur in people with an older age
- Another name for merkel cell carcinoma is neuroendocrine carcinoma of skin
- Like other types of cancer, merkel cell carcinoma is most likely to occur in people who have a weak immune system and those who are very frequently exposed to a long – term sunlight for a consistent period of time
- This type of cancer is usually of non – invasive ( do not spread to other parts of the body) type but over a period of time it tends to become an invasive (that spreads to other parts of the body) type of cancer
- The treatment for this type of cancer usually depends on the fact that whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body or not that is whether it has become invasive type or not
Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)
- Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is another very rare type of cancer of the skin
- This type of cancer occurs in the cells that are present in the middle layer of the skin or dermis and are known as connective tissue cells
- In the initial stages of this type of cancer, it appears as bruise or a scar, but over a period of time it grows into protubrans that it lumps of skin and this may occur near the surface of the skin
- This type is usually of non – invasive type but over a period of time it may outgrow into an invasive type
There are a number of treatments available for skin cancer. The most common treatment which can also be considered a prevention is to avoid direct contact or exposure of skin to the UV rays. If the cancer is detected in early stages, there are maximal chances to get cure from it. As the stage increases over a period of time the chance of the cancer being cured decreases.