Health Encyclopedia

Skin cancer

Cancer - skin

Skin cancer is usually a result of too much sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Many types of skin cancer are both preventable and treatable. There are 5 different types of skin cancer:Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form, accounting for 90% of all skin cancers. It starts in the basal cells, at the bottom of...

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  • Sun's effect on skin - Animation

    Sun's effect on skin

    Animation

  • Sun's effect on skin - Animation

    The skin uses sunlight to help manufacture vitamin D, which is important for normal bone formation. But there’s a downside. The sun's ultraviolet light can cause major damage to the skin. The outer layer of the skin has cells that contain the pigment melanin. Melanin protects skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays. These can burn the skin and reduce its elasticity, leading to premature aging. People tan because sunlight causes the skin to produce more melanin and darken. The tan fades when new cells move to the surface and the tanned cells are sloughed off. Some sunlight can be good as long as you have proper protection from overexposure. But too much ultraviolet, or UV, exposure can cause sunburn. The UV rays penetrate outer skin layers and hit the deeper layers of the skin, where they can damage or kill skin cells. People, especially those who don’t have much melanin and who sunburn easily, should protect themselves. You can protect yourself by covering sensitive areas, wearing sunblock, limiting total exposure time, and avoiding the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. Frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays over many years is the chief cause of skin cancer. And skin cancer should not be taken lightly. Check your skin regularly for suspicious growths or other skin changes. Early detection and treatment are key in the successful treatment of skin cancer.

  • Melanoma - Animation

    Melanoma

    Animation

  • Melanoma - Animation

    You've noticed a mole, sore, or growth on your skin that doesn't look right. It might be a melanoma and time to see a doctor. Melanoma is skin cancer caused by changes in cells called melanocytes. These cells make a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin's what gives you your skin and hair color. Melanoma can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles you have when you're born can develop into melanoma. There are four types: superficial spreading melanoma is the most common. It's usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It's most common in Caucasians. Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or maybe bluish-red. Lentigo melanoma usually occurs in older adults. It's more common on sun-damaged skin on your face, neck, and arms. It's usually large, flat, and tan, with areas of brown. Lastly, acral lentigenous melanoma is the least common form. It usually occurs on your palms, soles, or under your nails. And it's more common in African-Americans. The risk of developing melanoma increases with age, but it is often also seen in young people. You are more likely to get melanoma if you have fair skin, blue or green eyes, or red or blond hair. People who live in sunny climates or at high altitudes are also at risk. As are people who spend a lot of time in the sun, or had one or more blistering sunburns during childhood, or use tanning devices. So, how do you know you have melanoma?You may have a mole, sore, lump, or growth on your skin that just doesn't look right. You may notice a sore or growth that bleeds or changes color. One half of the growth may be different from the other. The edges of the growth may be irregular. The color of the growth may change from one area to another. The spot may be larger than 6mm in diameter, about the size of a pencil eraser. The mole may keep changing in appearance. So, what do you do about melanoma?To treat melanoma successfully, you have to recognize the symptoms early. Make sure somebody sees all of your skin at least once a year and pay attention to your own skin. Call your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Your doctor will examine your skin for size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas. If your doctor thinks you may have skin cancer, you'll have a piece of skin removed and sent to a laboratory for testing. This is called a biopsy. You may also have a lymph node biopsy to see if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. If you are diagnosed with melanoma, you may have other tests to see if the cancer has spread further. You will need surgery if you have melanoma. The doctor will remove the skin cancer and some of the surrounding tissue. If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes they will also be removed. After surgery, you may need medicine called interferon. If the cancer has spread to organs, it may not be able to be cured. Treatment then might focus on shrinking the cancer and making you as comfortable as possible. You may need chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation treatment, and more surgery. Caught early, some of the types of melanoma can be cured. Melanoma that is very deep or has already spread to lymph nodes is more likely to return after treatment. And the odds are even worse if it has spread farther to other organs. If you have melanoma and recovered, it's important you continue to examine your body for any unusual changes because the cancer may return many years later. One more reason that the earlier you catch it the better.

  • Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    This is a picture of squamous cell skin cancer on the hands. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three most common types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Squamous cell cancers can metastasize (spread) and should be removed surgically as soon as they are diagnosed.

    Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    Increased risk for skin cancer, especially melanoma, is associated with chronic exposure to sunlight, blistering sunburns, and a family history of skin cancer.

    Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    This skin cancer appears as a 2 to 3 centimeter skin spot. The tissue has become destroyed (forming an atrophic plaque). There is a brownish color because of increased skin pigment (hyperpigmentation) and a slightly elevated, rolled, pearl-colored margin. This growth is located along the hair line.

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    This skin cancer, a basal cell carcinoma, is 5 to 6 centimeters across, red (erythematous), with well defined (demarcated) borders and sprinkled brown pigment along the margins. This cancer is located on the person's back.

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three most common types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Squamous cell cancers can metastasize (spread) and should be removed surgically as soon as they are diagnosed.

    Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    The typical basal cell skin cancer appears as a small, pearly, dome-shaped nodule with small visible blood vessels (telangiectasias).

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    This skin cancer appears as a 1 to 1. 5 centimeter flesh-colored nodule with a central depression and a raised, pearly border. Small blood vessels are visible (telangiectatic).

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanomas beneath the fingernail appear as a black or bluish black discoloration. This type of malignancy spreads (metastasizes) readily.

    Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    illustration

  • Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of the skin cancers. Typical features of melanomas include irregular borders, multiple colors within the lesion, rapid growth, and susceptibility to easy injury with bleeding. Any mole that exhibits any of these changes should be evaluated immediately by your health care provider.

    Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    illustration

  • Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of the skin cancers. Typical features of melanomas include irregular borders, multiple colors within the lesion, rapid growth, and susceptibility to easy injury with bleeding. Any mole that exhibits any of these changes should be evaluated immediately by your physician.

    Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    illustration

  • Sun's effect on skin - Animation

    Sun's effect on skin

    Animation

  • Sun's effect on skin - Animation

    The skin uses sunlight to help manufacture vitamin D, which is important for normal bone formation. But there’s a downside. The sun's ultraviolet light can cause major damage to the skin. The outer layer of the skin has cells that contain the pigment melanin. Melanin protects skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays. These can burn the skin and reduce its elasticity, leading to premature aging. People tan because sunlight causes the skin to produce more melanin and darken. The tan fades when new cells move to the surface and the tanned cells are sloughed off. Some sunlight can be good as long as you have proper protection from overexposure. But too much ultraviolet, or UV, exposure can cause sunburn. The UV rays penetrate outer skin layers and hit the deeper layers of the skin, where they can damage or kill skin cells. People, especially those who don’t have much melanin and who sunburn easily, should protect themselves. You can protect yourself by covering sensitive areas, wearing sunblock, limiting total exposure time, and avoiding the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. Frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays over many years is the chief cause of skin cancer. And skin cancer should not be taken lightly. Check your skin regularly for suspicious growths or other skin changes. Early detection and treatment are key in the successful treatment of skin cancer.

  • Melanoma - Animation

    Melanoma

    Animation

  • Melanoma - Animation

    You've noticed a mole, sore, or growth on your skin that doesn't look right. It might be a melanoma and time to see a doctor. Melanoma is skin cancer caused by changes in cells called melanocytes. These cells make a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin's what gives you your skin and hair color. Melanoma can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles you have when you're born can develop into melanoma. There are four types: superficial spreading melanoma is the most common. It's usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It's most common in Caucasians. Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or maybe bluish-red. Lentigo melanoma usually occurs in older adults. It's more common on sun-damaged skin on your face, neck, and arms. It's usually large, flat, and tan, with areas of brown. Lastly, acral lentigenous melanoma is the least common form. It usually occurs on your palms, soles, or under your nails. And it's more common in African-Americans. The risk of developing melanoma increases with age, but it is often also seen in young people. You are more likely to get melanoma if you have fair skin, blue or green eyes, or red or blond hair. People who live in sunny climates or at high altitudes are also at risk. As are people who spend a lot of time in the sun, or had one or more blistering sunburns during childhood, or use tanning devices. So, how do you know you have melanoma?You may have a mole, sore, lump, or growth on your skin that just doesn't look right. You may notice a sore or growth that bleeds or changes color. One half of the growth may be different from the other. The edges of the growth may be irregular. The color of the growth may change from one area to another. The spot may be larger than 6mm in diameter, about the size of a pencil eraser. The mole may keep changing in appearance. So, what do you do about melanoma?To treat melanoma successfully, you have to recognize the symptoms early. Make sure somebody sees all of your skin at least once a year and pay attention to your own skin. Call your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Your doctor will examine your skin for size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas. If your doctor thinks you may have skin cancer, you'll have a piece of skin removed and sent to a laboratory for testing. This is called a biopsy. You may also have a lymph node biopsy to see if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. If you are diagnosed with melanoma, you may have other tests to see if the cancer has spread further. You will need surgery if you have melanoma. The doctor will remove the skin cancer and some of the surrounding tissue. If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes they will also be removed. After surgery, you may need medicine called interferon. If the cancer has spread to organs, it may not be able to be cured. Treatment then might focus on shrinking the cancer and making you as comfortable as possible. You may need chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation treatment, and more surgery. Caught early, some of the types of melanoma can be cured. Melanoma that is very deep or has already spread to lymph nodes is more likely to return after treatment. And the odds are even worse if it has spread farther to other organs. If you have melanoma and recovered, it's important you continue to examine your body for any unusual changes because the cancer may return many years later. One more reason that the earlier you catch it the better.

  • Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    This is a picture of squamous cell skin cancer on the hands. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three most common types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Squamous cell cancers can metastasize (spread) and should be removed surgically as soon as they are diagnosed.

    Skin cancer - squamous cell on the hands

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    Increased risk for skin cancer, especially melanoma, is associated with chronic exposure to sunlight, blistering sunburns, and a family history of skin cancer.

    Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    This skin cancer appears as a 2 to 3 centimeter skin spot. The tissue has become destroyed (forming an atrophic plaque). There is a brownish color because of increased skin pigment (hyperpigmentation) and a slightly elevated, rolled, pearl-colored margin. This growth is located along the hair line.

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - pigmented

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    This skin cancer, a basal cell carcinoma, is 5 to 6 centimeters across, red (erythematous), with well defined (demarcated) borders and sprinkled brown pigment along the margins. This cancer is located on the person's back.

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - spreading

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three most common types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Squamous cell cancers can metastasize (spread) and should be removed surgically as soon as they are diagnosed.

    Skin cancer, squamous cell - close-up

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    The typical basal cell skin cancer appears as a small, pearly, dome-shaped nodule with small visible blood vessels (telangiectasias).

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - nose

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    This skin cancer appears as a 1 to 1. 5 centimeter flesh-colored nodule with a central depression and a raised, pearly border. Small blood vessels are visible (telangiectatic).

    Skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma - behind ear

    illustration

  • Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanomas beneath the fingernail appear as a black or bluish black discoloration. This type of malignancy spreads (metastasizes) readily.

    Skin cancer, melanoma on the fingernail

    illustration

  • Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of the skin cancers. Typical features of melanomas include irregular borders, multiple colors within the lesion, rapid growth, and susceptibility to easy injury with bleeding. Any mole that exhibits any of these changes should be evaluated immediately by your health care provider.

    Skin cancer - melanoma superficial spreading

    illustration

  • Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous type of the skin cancers. Typical features of melanomas include irregular borders, multiple colors within the lesion, rapid growth, and susceptibility to easy injury with bleeding. Any mole that exhibits any of these changes should be evaluated immediately by your physician.

    Skin cancer - close-up of level IV melanoma

    illustration

Skin cancer

Cancer - skin

Skin cancer is usually a result of too much sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Many types of skin cancer are both preventable and treatable. There are 5 different types of skin cancer:Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form, accounting for 90% of all skin cancers. It starts in the basal cells, at the bottom of...

Read Full Article

 
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Skin cancer

Cancer - skin

Skin cancer is usually a result of too much sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Many types of skin cancer are both preventable and treatable. There are 5 different types of skin cancer:Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form, accounting for 90% of all skin cancers. It starts in the basal cells, at the bottom of...

Read Full Article

 

Review Date: 12/19/2015

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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